The Buna-Sanananda Operation
16 November 1942 - 23 January 1943
First printed by the Historical Division, War Department,
for the American Forces in Action series, 1945
CMH Pub 100-1
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402
Foreword to CMH Edition
Papuan Campaign: The Buna-Sanananda Operation (16
November 1942-23 January 1943) is one of a series of fourteen
studies of World War II operations originally published by the
War Department's Historical Division and now returned to print
as part of the Army's commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary
of that momentous clash of arms_ These volumes, prepared by
professional historians shortly after the events described, provide
a concise summary of some of the major campaigns and battles
fought by American soldiers_ The skillful combination of com-
bat interviews with primary sources, many of which are now lost,
gives these unassuming narratives a special importance to military
historians_ The careful analysis of key operations provides numer-
ous lessons for coday's military students_
I am pleased that this entire group of studies will once again
be available. I urge all military students and teachers to use them
to enhance our collective awareness of the skill, leadership, daring,
and professionalism exhibited by our military forebears_
Washington, nc
15 Septem ber 1989
Colonel, FA
Chief of Military History
In the thick of battle, the soldier is busy doing his job.
He has the knowledge and confidence that his job is part
of a unified plan to defeat the enemy, but he does not have
time to survey a campaign from a fox hole. If he should
be wounded and removed behind the lines, he may have. even
less opportunity to learn what place he and his unit had in
the larger fight.
American forces in action is a series prepared by the War
Department especially for the information of wounded men.
It will show these soldiers, who have served their country
so well, the part they and their comrades played itl achiev-
ments which do honor to the record of the United States
Chi_f of StaD.
Papuan Campaign: the Buna-Sanananda Oper-
ation is the second of a series called AMERICAN FORCES IN
ACTION. The series was prepared at the suggestion of General of
the Army George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff. His foreword, as used
in the original edition, appears on the previous page. The series was
originally designed for military personnel only and primarily for
wounded soldiers in hospitals to tell them the military story of the
campaigns and battles in which they served. With the cessation of
hostilities, Papuan Campaign is released as a public document.
This study was based on the best military records available. Al-
though in its published form it contains no documentation, the original
manuscript, full y documented, is on file in the War Department.
Aerial photographs are by the Allied Air Forces, S. W. P. A.; all others
are by the U. S. Army Signal Corps.
Readers are urged to send directly to the Historical Division,
War Department, Washington 25, D. c., comments, criticisms, and
additional information which may be of value in the preparation of a
complete and definitive history of the Buna-Sanananda operation.
Table of Contents
Gc!ography and Climate of the Buna Area 9
The }apaneJ't DefensifJ( Position . . 13
Air-Ground Coopmltion 18
Transport, Supply, and Commu1!icatiol1 . 19
FirJf Contact . ....... 26
Feeling o"t th, Enemy Lints (20- 25 No.tmber) . 27
A Wee. of Attack (26 No.'mb,,....2 DtCtmber) . 29
Breaktheough to th, S,a (3-5 DtCtmber). . 36
Th, Capture of Buna V i l l a ~ , ( 6- 14 DtCtmber). 41
Situation on 14 Decemher . 42
CEMBER- 3 JANUARy).............. 45
Th, Tanks Break Through to Cap' Endaiad,re (18 D,cttnbrr)' .. 45
o"r Troops Cross th, Bridg' (19- 23 Dectmber). . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Th, Fight up th, Old Strip ( 24- 28 Dec'mber)....... SO
Th, last Days 011 th, WarTtn Froll! (29 Dectmb,,....3 January). . . 52
BER-2 JANUAR Y). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Th, Triangl, and th, Coconut Gro., (15-20 DtCtmber). . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Another COrTidor to th, S,a ( 21- 28 D,Ctmber). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . • . . . . 55
Th, Mission Falls (28 Dmmb,r-2 January). . . . . .. . . .• . . . 57
THE ROAD BLOCK (22 NOVEMBER- 9 JANUARy)....... . . . . 65
Situation on th, SoputtrSanananda Road ( 4 January) . . . . . . . •• . . . 69
O p , " i n ~ Up th, Cap' Killmon Trail ( 4- 15 January). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Th, Env,/opmmt (16 January). ....................... 74
Th, Moppmg-Up (17-23 January). ....... . ......•.... . ... 77
CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . • . . . . 81
• • •
CASUALTlES . ... 82
ANNEX NO.2: DECORATIONS. ......................... .. .. 83
1 Relation of New Guinea to Neighboring Area . . . Inside back cover
2 Souch-East New Guinea ( Papuan Peninsula) ... Page 3
3 Buna-Sanananda Campaign, Situation 18 November 1942 . Faces page 9
4 The Attack on Buna, 19 November--14 December 1942 . Faces page 27
5 The Capture of Buna, 15 December 1942- 3January 1943 . Faces page 45
6 Sanananda Front, 22 November 1942- 9 January 1943 . . . . Page 66
7 Final Attack, Sanananda Front, 9 January- llJanuary 1943. . Page 72
No. Page
1 The Urbana Force Attacks the Triangle, 24 November 1942 30
2 Attack on Warren Front, 5 December 1942 . . . . 37
3 Breakthrough at Buna Village, 5' December 1942 40
4 Road Block Positions, Sanananda, IJanuary- 22January 1943 68
S Japanese Perimeter" Q," Sopuca-Sanananda Road 71
On the Way to Buna: The Inland Route .
Japanese Bunker in the Duropa Plantation
Interior of a Japanese Bunker in the Duropa Plantation
The Old Strip, Buna, Showing Japanese Fortifications
Firing Pits and Bunker Entrances. Buna Mission
Strip No.4 at Dobodura
American Troops Embarking in a C- 47
Native Stretcher .Bearers with Wounded American
Supplies for Headquarters .
Japanese Defenses in the Duropa Plantation
Terrain West of the New Strip .
Disabled Bren-Gun Carriers
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger
American Light Tanks Manned by Australians
Bridge over Simemi Creek
Defenses in the Old Strip Area
Bridge over Entrance Creek to Musita Island.
Buna Mission Area
Offensi ve Action in Buna Mission .
Buna Mission after the Battle
Japanese Dc:ad ncar Buna Mission. 3 January
Sanananda Point
A Fox Hole 00 Giruwa .Beach . .
. 31
The Japanese Threat to Australia
(Map No. I, inside back cover)
D URING the early months of 1942 the Japanese were on the
offensive everywhere in the Southwest Pacific and their armies
seemed to be invincible. On 10 December 1941, Japanese forces
landed in the Philippines; on 15 February 1942, Singapore fell; within
a month the Netherlands Indies were conquered. Then the attack
shifted farther to the southeast, and from Rabaul in New Britain, which
had been occupied on 23 January, the Japanese High Command
planned a two-pronged drive. One prong was to strike for control
of southeastern New Guinea; the other was to thrust through the
Solomon Islands to cut the supply line from America to Australia.
Neither attack reached its objective. When a Japanese convoy
pushed around the eastern tip of New Guinea threatening Port
Moresby and northeastern Australia, it met American naval forces.
In the ensuing Battle of the Coral Sea (4--8 May 1942), the Japanese
suffered a decisive defeat. Five months later, the Japanese advance
toward our supply line in the Southwest Pacific ended when American
marines landed (7 August) in the Solomons on Tulagi, Gavutu,
Florida, and GuadalcanaI.
Failure in their attempt by sea did not end the Japanese effort to
capture Port Moresby, which woul d afford them an invasion base only
340 miles from the Cape York Peninsula in Australia. In July they
landed at Buna, Gona, and Sanananda on the northeast coast of Papua
and pushed southward across the Papuan Peninsula. The Aus-
tralians first stopped the enemy and then, joined by American forces,
drove him back to his landing bases . The Allied campaign culminated
in the capture of those bases. This long and hard counteroffensive
not only freed Australia from the imminent threat of invasion, but
gave the United Nations their first toehold in the area of enemy de-
fenses protecting Rabaul, center of Japanese power in the Southwest
The American part in the Buna·Sanananda campaign, in which
Australian and American troops defeated "the invincible Imperial
Army" of Japan, is the subject of this pamphlet. The proportion of
American troops in the Allied forces at Buna was much greater than
at Sanananda, and for this reason the Buna operation receives the more
detailed treatment. The story is set in a background of fever-ridden
swamp and jungle, where American soldiers lay day after day in
waterlogged fox holes or crawled through murderous fire toward
enemy positions they could not see. Despite all the difliculties imposed
by terrain, climate, and the formidable strength of Japanese fortifica-
tions, despite failure in many heroic attacks, the effort was carried
through to a final and smashing success. This campaign and the
almost simultaneous action on Guadalcanal were the first victorious
operations of U. S. ground forces against the Japanese.
Beginning of the Allied
Coun teroffensi ve
(Map No.2, page 3)
On 21 and 22 July a Japanese convoy of 3 transports, 2 light cruisers,
and 3 destroyers reached Gona and disembarked Maj. Gen. Tomitaro
Horii with about 4>400 troops. Allied Air Force attacks succeeded in
setting fire to I transport. Additional troops and supplies poured in
during the next few days. By 13 August II,1oo men had landed and
the drive on Port Moresby began. The Japanese fought their way
across the deep gorges and razor-backed ridges of the Owen Stanley
Mountains and descended the southern slopes to within 32 miles of
the port. Here Australian resistance stiffened and on 14 September
the advance was held at Imita Range, south of Ioribaiwa.
During the next 2 weeks the Allied Air Force continued relentless
strafing and bombing of the Japanese supply lines running over the
mountains to Buna, Sanananda, and Gona. The enemy, half-starved,
attacked on front and flank by the Australians, yielded Ioribaiwa on
:z8 September and began to withdraw hastily up the trail. During the
critical last days of August, Japanese units had landed at Milne Bay

, .
.. ;
, .

to threaten Port Moresby from the east, but this attack had been
quickly stopped. After 3 days of heavy fighting, the enemy troops
were forced back to the beach and taken off by naval vessels. For
the first time, a japanese force had been evacuated after failing in its
just as the tide of invasion began to ebb, American troops entered
the New Guinea theater of operations. Early in Septemher, when the
Japanese threat appeared most grave, the 126th Infantry Combat Team
and the 128th Infantry Combat Team, both of the 32d Division, were
ordered to Port Moresby from Australia. Each combat team was com-
posed of a regiment of infantry, a platoon of the II4th Engineers, a
Collecting Company and a platoon of the Clearing Company of the
HY]th Medieal Battalion with three 25-bed portable hospitals, and a
detachment of the 32d Signal Company. The infantry howitzers,
divisional artillery, and about two-thirds of the 8,-mm mortars were
left behind because of the difficulties of transportation to the Buna
The 32d Division was a National Guard unit from Michigan and
Wisconsin, commanded at this time by Maj. Gen. Edwin F. Harding.
It had been sent to Australia in April '942 and had there received a
very brief and sketchy training in jungle warfare. Though the Buna-
Sanananda campaign was its first combat experience in World War II,
the division could look back on an excellent record in World War I,
when it had been one of the first units to reach France.
The transfer of the two combat teams to Port Moresby, pardy by
plane and partly by boat, was completed on 28 September. The 128th
Infantry occupied positions on the Allied left flank to operate up the
Goldie River. The 126th Infantry went into bivouac near Port
Moresby, while a patrol, under the command of Capt. William F.
Boice, proceeded east along the coast to look for a route over the moun-
tains on the Allied right flank:
Allied strategy in New Guinea now began to shift from defense to
counterattack. The japanese, closely pursued by the Australians, con-
tinued their rapid retreat toward Kokoda. Intelligence reports indi-
I Thl:: 127th Infantry Combat Team disembarked at Port Moresh}' almost :I: months later,
on Thanksgi ving Day. On 27 December, the:: 163d Infantry reached New Guinea from Aus-
tralia. This unit of the: 41St Division was also a National Guard Rcgimcnt sent to Australia
in April 1942.
tated that no enemy reinforcements were reaching the Buna-Sanan-
and. area. The enemy was apparently concentrating all his available
naval, air, and land strength on the battle then raging in the Solomons.
If he could drive us from Guadalcanal and advance southward to cut
our supply line to Australia, his relative neglect of New Guinea would
be justified. On the other hand, determined action on our part might
crush the enemy in the Papuan Peninsula and so remove permanently
the Japanese threat to Port Moresby.
General Douglas MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief, Southwest Pa-
cific Area; General Sir Thomas Blarney, Commander of Allied Land
Forces, Southwest Pacific Area and General Officer Commanding
New Guinea Force; and Lt. Gen. E. F. Herring, General Officer Com-
manding Advanced New Guinea Force, all of whom were at Port
Moresby, laid their plans accordingly. While the Australians con-
tinued to drive the enemy back along the Kokoda trail, the 32d
Division under General Harding would make a secret, wide envelop-
ment to the east and attack in force on the enemy left Rank in the
vicinity of Buna. This move might cut off the retreat of the main
Japanese force facing the Australians. To insure speed and to avoid
dissipating the strength of the division by marching it· across the
exhausting mountain trails, most of the enveloping force was to go by
air to the seacoast southeast of Buna.
During the remainder of October and the early part of November,
the 126th Infantry and the 128th Infantry were moving into position.
Acting as left-Rank guard, the 2d Battalion of the 126th Infantry
crossed the lofty Owen Stanley Mountains on foot by a rugged
trail rising over 8,000 feet. On 20 November, after an exceedingly dif-
ficult march of 5 weeks, they reached Soputa. The (28th Infantry on
14-18 October was flown to the hastily inaproved air strip at W.anigela
Mission on Collinwood Bay, 65 air miles from Buna. From Wani-
gela small 20-ton motor launches carried the regiment up the coast to
Pongani, 23 miles from Buna, where it halted to construct a landing
strip. The 126th Infantry, less the 2d Battalion and part of the 1st
Battalion, went directly by air to this new strip on 9-II November.
While our troops were concentrating toward Buna, reconnaissance
was limited in order to secure the maximum of surprise when the force
attacked. However, Australian patrols operating to our front learned
earl y in November that "bush wireless" had carried the news of our
Organization of the Allied Forces in New Guinea (16 November 1942-23 January 19(3)
Hetl.dqullrtera, Auat. 7th Division
C. G. Maj. Gen. G. A. Vasey
Aust. 2/7 Cavalry Regiment
Aust. 2/ 6 Armored Regiment
Allat. 14th Infantry Brigade (Attached)
Alist. 16th Infantry Brigade (Attaclled)
Aust. 18th Infantry Brigade
Au8t. 21st Infantry B rigade
Anat. 25th Infantry Bri gade
Aust. 30th Infantr\' Brignde (Attached)
Aust. 2/6 Independent Compllny
One blltterY\Aust. 2/1 Field Regiment (Attacbed)
One troop,.' ust. 2 / 5 Field Regiment
One troop, Aust. 13th }<'Ield Regiment (Attached)
AusL 1st Mountain Battery (Attached)
Advanced General Headquarters
C. G. General Douglas MacArthur
New Gulnen Force
C. G. General Sir Thomas Blarney
(C. O. Lt. Gen. E. F . Berrlng-)
Advanced New Guinea Force
C. G. Lt. Gen. E. ~ ' . HerrIng
(C. O. Lt. Gen. R. L. Elchelberger-)
Headquarters, U. S. I Corps
C. G. Lt. Gen. R. L. Eichelberger
32d 01 vision
126th Infantry Regime.ntal Combat Team
127th Inful1t ry Regimental Combat Team
128th Infant ry Regimental Combat Team
4] st Division
163d Infantry Regimental Combat Team
·After the fall of BUna Mission General MacA.rthur and General Blarney returned to their headquarters in AUl!ltraliu. Then Genernl Berrlng com-
manded the New Guinea Force and General Elcbelberger commanded the Ad\' nnced New Guinea Force.
approach to the enemy, and therefore from 10 November the troops
advanced as rapidly as possible.
By the evening of 18 November the forward movement had brought
our forces close to Buna (Map NO.3, facing page 9). The 1st Bat-
talion, 128th Infantry, was on the coastal track between Hariko and
the Duropa Plantation; the 1st Battalion, 126 Infantry, was coming
up from Oro Bay along the same trail . The bulk of the 126th Infantry
was in position on the left in the vicinity of Inonda. Beyond was the
Australian 7th Division pushing forward on the trails to Gona and
Sanananda. The 3d Battalion of the 128th was near Simemi; the 2d
Battalion, in division reserve, was split between Ango and the grassy
plain at Dobodura. Here E Company and the Cannon Company were
working at top speed with a detachment of the 114th Engineers to con-
struct a landing strip needed for transport planes and fighters. Speed
was vital if the division was to eat, for on 16-17 November two enemy
air attacks on our small boats had crippled the coastal line of supply.
Enemy patrolling to our from had increased during the past few
days, but despite this activity, the garrison in Buna appeared to be very
weak. Native reports indicated that the Japanese had retreated to the
landing strips at Buna. The men of the 32d Division expected to end
the campaign with one quick attack and advanced full of enthusiasm.
A month later, still facing Buna, our troops would look back with envy
on the relatively easy days of the approach march, when they had
slogged along muddy trails and waded breast-high streams.
Foc. p. 9




Background of the Buna Operation
(Map NO.3, lacing page 9, and
Map NO.4, lacing page 27)
T HE ENEMY had taken cunning advantage of the peculiar geog-
raphy of the Buna area to construct two almost impregnable defensive
lines hidden in the swampy jungle. One of these lay across the
Soputa-Sanananda Road; the other was in front of Buna itself. Our
forces on 18 November had only the vaguest notion of these fortifica-
tions. The campaign cannot be understood without a description
of the area, of its climate, and of the Japanese defenses.
The fighting took place in a narrow strip on the northeastern coast
of Papua extending on both sides of Buna Mission, the prewar seat of
government for the area. The Mission, sometimes called the Govern-
ment Station, consisted of three houses and a few dozen native huts.
Buna Village, a half mile to the northwest, was merely a cluster of
huts . . Bounded on the west by one of the several outlets of the Girua
River and on the east by the coast a half mile south of Cape Endaiadere,
the battleground was about 3)1, miles long and y. of a mile deep. To a
casual observer, the area would seem to be merely typical Papuan ter-
rain, with its irregular p a t t ~ r n of steaming jungle, impassable swamp,
coconut plantations, and open fields of coarse, shoulder-high kunai
grass. Our troops came to know and to distinguish the smallest
terrain features, usually the result of differences in vegetation.
Variations in the elevation played little part in the Buna landscape
for the whole area is a Rat, low-lying plain. The landing field at Buna
is 5 feet above sea level, and even at Soputa, 7)1, miles inland, the land
rises only to an elevation of 10 feet. The sluggish rivers that run norm
&om the Owen Stanley Mountains lose themselves in swamps of mpa,
mangrove, and sago trees, which often extend to the coast. The Girua
River is typical. It is 40 to 60 feet wide until it disappears in the
swamps southeast of Buna Village, and it eventually reaches the ocean
through several mouths between Buna and Sanananda. One of these
mouths is Entrance Creek, which opens into a shallow lagoon between
Buna Village and Buna Mission. Simemi Creek, another stream im-
portant in the fighting, runs north to the vicinity of the Buna airfield
and then parallels the northern edge of the field to the sea.
The principal swamp in the Buna area lies between Entrance Creek
and Simemi Creek and reaches inland to the vicinity of Simemi and
Ango. It is absolutely impenetrable, a fact of vital importance in the
campaign. Between the closely spaced trees, which are 25 to 100 feet
high, is a tangle of roots, creepers, and underbrush. A man standing
up can see from 5 to 30 yards; from a fox hole visibility is practically
zero. Much . of the other ground in the area, though not actually
swamp, is thorough I y waterlogged, but a few places near the shore are
fairly dry.
Most of the drier land is covered with a thick growth of kunai grass
or plantations of coconut palms. This coarse grass grows to a height
of more than 6 feet, but its height varies greatly, depending on how
recently it has been burned over or cut. Its leaves are broad and sharp-
edged; its stems are about the thickness of a pencil. The coconut
palms are usually planted about 18 feet apart and the ground under
them is relatively clear of cover. Between the mouth of Simemi Creek
and Buna Mission lies a government coconut plantation about 300 yards
wide; running south from Cape Endaiadere is the Duropa Plantation,
about 700 yards wide and 1,800 yards long. To the southwest of this
latter plantation is a large area overgrown with kunai grass. Another
even larger area of grass occupies the region to the north of the main
In this open ground southeast of the Mission lies the most important
objective of the Allied drive, the landing field. This landing field is
105 air miles from Port Moresby, 147 from Salamaua, and 400 from
Rabaul. [n Allied hands it would definitely check any enemy threat
by land to Port Moresby and, as proved later, would be a powerful sup-
port for further advance along the north coast of New Guinea. The
landing field was in existence before the Japanese carne, but during the
enemy occupation it was enlarged to an area 1,300 yards by 90 yards,
running southeast and northwest, and dispersal bays were added.
Japanese planes used the field until the end of September, when our
Air Force pocked its surface with bomb craters and put it out of com-
mission. Tbe Japanese had also built a dummy field, running almost
due east and west, in the other grassy area, across Simemi Creek. To
distinguish it from the "Old Strip," the dummy field received the
name of "New Strip" in our operations.
Approach to Buna is difficult whether by sea or by land. It has no
harbor. Coral reefs abound near the shore and are scattered over the
sea to a distance of 25 miles from land. Cargo has to be discharged at
sea into native double canoes usually carrying I to I ll, tons. On the
land side, Buna is cut off by swamps and creeks and can be approached
only along four narrow corridors, each with its trail.
The coastal trail runs from Cape Sud est past Hariko and cuts over
along the northern edge of the New Strip to Simemi Creek, southeast
of the Old Strip. Here it meets the second trail, which comes from
Dobodura and Simemi village and skirts the east side of the main
swamp south of Buna. After the junction, the trail crosses the creek
on a permanent bridge and continues along the northern edge of tht
Old Strip to the Mission. Between the bridge and the Mission, it is a
passable motor road. The third trail comes up from Dobodura on
the west side of the main swamp, joins a trail from Soputa at Ango
Corner, and then runs to a fork about 1,200 yards from the coast. The
right fork leads to the coastal track southeast of the Mission; the left
fork crosses Entrance Creek by a footbridge and proceeds to Buna
The fourth route approaches Buna from the northwest. It origi-
nates beyond Gona and roughly follows the coast, fording several
streams before it reaches Siwori Village where it meets two other
trails. One of these leads from Siwori Village along the small penin-
sula between Girua River and the sea to a point just across the mouth
of the river from Buna Village. The other skirts the mainland, crosses
the Girua River by a footbridge (destroyed early in the operation) , and
joins the left fork of the Ango trail about 200 yards south of Buna Vil-
lage. These trails average 12 feet in width but are so low-lying that
a heavy rain would put sections under water. The Il4th Engineers
worked constantly putting down corduroy to make routes passable
[or peeps, for all supply and evacuation were based on the trails, the
"Main Streets" of the Buna jungle.
Along with difficulties resulting from the terrain went problems
inherent in the uniformly hot and muggy climate. At Buna a rise in
temperature of 1° or 2° F. increases physical discomfort tremen-
dously. To make matters worse, the fighting took place in the months
when precipitation, temperature, and humidity are highest. In De-
cember of a normal year, the temperature ranges between 72° and
89° F., and the humidity averages 82 per cent. During this month,
the average precipitation of 14Yz inches falls in heavy tropical showers
with intervening periods of clear weather. Fortunately the major
rains held off until the very end of the operations at Buna, but the men
who fought in the jungle swamps of the northeastern coast of Papua
would not describe the area as dry at any time.
Our troops suffered from malaria and dengue fever prevalent in the
region. They also suffered from depression and lassitude caused by
the climate and inadequate food; salt and vitamin tablets did no more
than alleviate the situation. Within 2 weeks of our entry into the area
the rate of sickness began to climb, and at all times thereafter a heavy
percentage of every combat unit was hospitalized by malaria and other
fevers. For every two men who were battle casualties, five were out of
action from fever. Daily doses of quinine or atabrine were compulsory
but only suppressed the symptoms.
Jungle, swamp, stifling climate, insects, fever-all these and the
Japanese were the enemies of our troops. In the words of one of their
own number:
The men at the front in New Guinea were perhaps among the most
soldiers ever to wear the American uniform. They were
gaunt and thin, with deep black circles under their sunken eyes. They were
covered with tropical sores .... They wel'e clothed in tattered, stained jackets
and pants . .. . Often the soles had been sucked off their shoes by the tenacious,
stinking mud. Many of them fought for days with fevers and didn't know
it . ... Malaria, dengue fever, dysentery, and, in a few cases, typhus hit
man after man. There: was hardly a soldiel' , among the thousands who went
into the jungle, who didn't come down wilh some kind of fever at least once.:!
E. J. Kahn, Jr.. G. I, New York; Simon and Schuster, 1943, pp. 121 Il:2,
More than 1,800 seasoned Japanese soldiers and marines, who for
the most part had not participated in the Moresby drive, were en-
trenched in a superb defensive position awaiting our attack. The
western flank of the enemy line was protected by the sea and the im-
penetrable swamps of the main mouth of the Girua River. The east-
ern flank rested on the seacoast south of Cape Endaiadere. The middle
of the line was guarded by the wide stretch of continuous swamp be-
tween Entrance and Simemi creeks. Our attacks were necessarily
confined to the trails, canalized along two widely separated corridors
without any lateral communication, one between Simemi Creek and
the east coast and the other on the west side of the swamp along the
Ango trail toward the Mission and Buna Village. Movement of our
troops from one flank to the other entailed a 2-day march via Ango
and Simemi; in contrast, the Japanese had a motor road from the
Mission to Sirnemi Creek over which they could reinforce either flank
in a few minutes.
The Japanese main line of defense ran from the Girua River along
the outskirts of Buna Village, thence roughly southeast to Entrance
Creek and across it to the nearby junction of the Village trail with the
Mission-Ango track. There it turned abruptly north, enclosing a
narrow pointed area called the Triangle, then swept east across the
grass-covered field known as Government Gardens toward Giropa
Point. About 500 yards south of the Point it bent southeast to the
western end of the Old Strip. This western sector was manned by
two Marine units, the Yasuda Butai (detachment) and the Tsukioka
Butai, under Col. Yoshitatsu Yasuda. Men of these units had fought
in China, Malaya, and various islands of the Pacific.
The south edge of the Old Strip was protected by the swamp. From
tlle briclge across Simemi Creek at the southeastern corner of the Old
Strip, the enemy def:nse line continued along the northern edge of
the New Strip through the Duropa Plantation to reach the sea a half
mile south of Cape Endaiadere. The 3d Battalion, 229th Infantry,"
which had fought at Canton and Hongkong, marched down from
Gona on 18 November and manned this eastern flank, together with
a replacement unit known as the Yamamoto Butai .
:IThc: I ~ t anJ 2d Hanalium, 1.29th Infantry, It may be noted. w t : r ~ at this time: on
These troops were commanded by Maj. Gen. Oda, succeeding Gen-
eral Horii, who had been drowned in the Kumusi River while retreat-
ing from the attack on Port Moresby. In addition to the infantry
already mentioned, which numbered about 1,165, he had at Buna a
number of other elements: a heavy antiaircraft battery which was
tentatively identified as the 73d Independent Unit, with a minimum
strength of 100; a battery of mountain artillery believed to be from
the 3d Battalion, 55th Field Artillery, and numbering at least 100 men;
about 100 men remaining &om the 144th Infantry, which had been
decimated in the Port Morsby expedition; some 300 miscellaneous
troops, including engineer, medical, signal, and supply personnel;
about 400 Japanese, Formosan, and Korean laborers of the 14th and
15th Construction Units. The Japanese force at Buna thus totaled
about 2,200, of which some 1,800 were combat troops. Only the
remnant of the 144th Infantry had taken part in the disastrous retreat
over the Owen Stanley Mountains; the rest were fresh and ready for
Our troops approached Buna completely ignorant of the defenses
which faced them. They found the enemy forces established in almost
impregnable defensive works, which bamed the earlier attackers and
left them uncertain of the exact location of their foes. They first had
to find out just where the Japanese were and then solve the problem
of how to drive them from their fortifications.
The defenses consisted essentially of a network of mutually support-
ing bunkers, organized in depth. The 32d Division at Buna was the
first American unit to meet and conquer this type of defense. At
Munda, Salamaua, and all other points in the Southwest Pacific Area
where we have since encountered prepared Japanese positions, tlxe
experience gained at Buna has proved valuable.
Dugouts are not feasible in the Buna area because the water table is
too close to the surface. The Japanese bunkers were, therefore, almost
entirely above ground. The base of the bunker was a shallow trench,
up to 40 feet in lengtl1 for the larger bunkers, and 6 to 10 feet for the
smaller. A &amework of columns and beams was set up, the walls
were revetted with coconut logs ranging up to I Y, feet in thickness,
and a ceiling of two or three courses of such logs was laid on top. Not
content with this construction, the enemy reinforced the wall, using
steel oil drums and ammunition boxes filled with sand, as well as log
/apanese Btlnk" in the Duropa PIIln/al/on.
Cpl. Charles Claridge of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, is looking al thl: enlr.lOce.
0/ a /apatlt!u Bunk" m Dliropa Plan/a/iOtl.
Note the oil drums uscd to reinforce the palm· \og structure.
piles and rocks. Over all this were piled eartb and sand mixed with
short logs, coconuts, and the like. Wben the bunker, 7 to 8 feet high,
was camouAagcd with fast-growing jungle vegetation, it he(;lme
almost impossihle to spot in the tangled underhrush. The campaign
was to prove that as a shelter it would withstand almost anything but
a direct hit by a heavy artillery shell with delayed-action fuze. En-
trances to the bunkers usually were in the rear, covered by fire from
adjacent bunkers, and often angled so that a hand grenade tossed in
the door would not kill the occupants.
Some of the bunkers had fire slits for machine guns or riAes. In
this case snipers in the trees overhead served as observers. The snipers
would fire warning shots when our troops approached, and then a
machine-gun burst would come from the bunker. The bunkers, how-
ever, were principally used for shelter during aerial bombardment and
shelling. After such attacks the Japanese crawled out along the com-
munication trenches and took up firing positions in individual em-
placements to the sides and front of the bunkers. Not all of these
shelters were occupied at anyone time; the garrison shifted from point
to point to meet our attack, and our troops soon learned that each cap-
tured bunker must be garrisoned or destroyed to prevent the enemy
from infiltrating and reoccupying it. The Japanese worked steadi ly
to improve and strengthen their system of defenses and constructed
new lines as they were forced back.
Japanese tactics during the Buna campaign were strictly defensive.
Counterattacks were few and carne mostly at the end of the operation,
when the enemy's situation was growing desperate. For the most part
he dug himself in and waited for our troops to cross his final protective
lines. Time and time again our troops were baffied by the enfilading
fire from positions they could not see. As the soldiers kept complain-
ing, "If we could only see them, it wouldn't take long." But the Jap-
anese light machine guns and Arisaka riAes gave off no Aash, and in
the great tent of towering trees sound so reverberated that tl,e report
of a weapon did not aid in its location. Our troops had to locate each
bunker by costly fumbling, then either outAank it by creeping through
a swamp or charge it again and again until the defenders were worn
out. The Japanese never surrendered. As one soldier explained,
"They are tough babies all right, but [ guess part of the toughness
comes from them not being .ble to go any place else; they just stay
there and die."
Old Slrip, B1I110, SllOwing Forri{icaIIOnJ.
Fmllg PIIJ alld ElIll"lJlJcn. BI/lla MUJlon.
Our victory at Buna was the fruit of cooperation between ground
and air forces. Either without the other would have failed. The Aus-
tralian and American units of the U. S. 5th Air Force, under Lt. Gen.
George C. Kenney, met all demands, strategic, tactical, and logistic.
Though our squadrons were often outnumbered and always short of
pilots, planes, and supplies, they were stronger than the forces wbich
the Japanese could spare from their major effort in the Solomons. The
skill and courage of Allied fliers, in combination with the superiority
of our planes, won aerial mastery over the southeastern end of New
Guinea. Our control of the air made large-scale reinforcement of the
enemy troops in the area cost more than the Japanese were willing or
able to pay in terms of losses. At the same time, we were able to bring
in the soldiers and supplies to drive the enemy from Buna and
Our control of the air was won by constant patrolling, armed re-
connaissance, and aggressive fighter operations.' Yet we could not
monopolize the air and considerable numbers of hostile planes from
time to time succeeded in breaking through to bomb and strafe our
troops and rear areas. For example, on 7 December, 3 Japanese navy
dive bombers and IS Zero-escorted high-level bombers attacked the 2d
Field Hospital at Simemi, causing heavy casualties. As late as 27
December, when the enemy was withdrawing toward the sea for his
last stand, 41 Zeros and dive bombers attempted to raid our positions
but were intercepted by S of our P-3S's. Two enemy planes were shot
down, and the 3 bombs dropped did no damage. However, the
~ Tabulation of cooperatinn by the 5th Air Force in the New Guinea area, 1 November 1942-
23 January 1943 :
Aerial recon- A r m ~ d fecon- Anack 00
naissanee: aod nalssance
enemy Bombing and Total
observation escort, Olin aircraft strafing
Type of plane:
Heavy Bomber 116 47 164
Medium Bomber
4S 88 133
Light Bomber 28 74 102
Fi$htcr . .. . ..
3S 38 3 63 1)9
Miscellaneous .
" 13
Total .
300 4
272 1
enemy could not maintain a continuous or effective aerial offensive
and suffered severe losses in his occasional raids. He never completely
severed OUI frdgile lines of communication.
Strategic bombing and strafing of enemy airfields at Lae, Salamaua,
and Rabaul by the 5th Air Force was severely limited by the small num-
ber of planes available. Between I November 1942 and 31 January
1943, only 13)1, tons of explosives were dropped on ground targets
and shipping outside the coastal region of southeastern New Guinea.
At the same time, however, the 13th Air Force was engaging large
numbers of Japanese planes in the Solomons and was also bombing
Rabaul. These attacks had an effect out of proportion to their appar-
ent weight, for they compelled the enemy to allocate part of his
strength to defense of his bases and restricted his ability to interfere
with Allied operations in the Buna-Sanananda area.
Tactical bombing and strafing of enemy forward areas played a
relatively small part, for such operations early proved almost as dan-
gerous to our own troops as to the enemy. Contact between our
ground units and those of the enemy was exceedingly close and aerial
observation was practically impossible. Enemy rear areas were con-
stantly pounded by our B-25's and A-20'S, yet during the 6 weeks of
active operations only 163 tons of bombs were dropped and 144mlO
rounds of ammunition fired on the Buna Mission and Old Strip area.
Bombardiers in the combat zone usually had to aim at jungle-covered
ground targets visible only at extremely low altitudes. In most in-
stances, pilots had to report "results unobserved." Nevertheless, these
raids had telling effect on Japanese forward supply lines and Japanese
Tactical aerial reconnaissance and observation were likewise very
difficult, but proved invaluable to our ground forces. A flight of Aus-
tralian Wirraways, based at Dobodura late in November, gathered
information contributing to a precision in artillery fire otherwise
impossible because of the inaccuracy of available maps.
Of first importance and most novel was tile contribution of the
5th Air Force to the transport and supply of the ground troops. Most
of our infantrymen and supporting troops, a total of 14,900 were flown
to tile Buna area in the uncomfortable bucket seats of C-47'S. The
small amount of artillery used in the operation was all airborne for
at least part of the way. The air movement of the nRth infantry
fron! Atlstralia to New (;\lillca was the.: lin.;t large.: scale ;Iirhornc lroop
111UVCIlIt'lit by Ullilc.:d Siall's ror(cs ill a theater of operations. Tht:
bulk of the other units of the Buna Force, including the I27th and
.61'1 Infantry Regiments, were Aown by the 374th Troop Carrier
Croup directly to Dohodura and Popondetta, only ro miles from the
front lines. When they were wounded or when they fell ill of
tropical diseases, the troops left as they had come; the planes which
brought in reinforcements and supplies returned to Port Moresby
laden with hospital cases, many of which were ferried immediately
by air to Australia.
Supply of rations and equipment was an extraordinarily difficult
problem throughout the operation. Land transportation across the
mountains was almost impossible and very impractical, since there
was only a rough and steep foot trail from Port Moresby to the front
and a trip over this trail took 18 to 28 days. The distance could be
Aown by plane in 35 minutes. While units near the coast relied on
supply by small boats, those inland had to depend on supply by
The Air Force maintained a regular shurtle service across the treach-
erous mountains and over the coastal jungle to deliver food for the
soldiers and native carriers, as well as the ammunition, the y.-ton
peeps used for transport on the corduroy trails, pick mattocks, shovels,
axes, oil for the ordnance which was corroding in the steaming jungle,
cots, blankets, surgical instrument", dressings, plasma, quinine and
atabrine tablets for the sick and wounded, new shoes, and clothing.
The only !Os-mm howitzer used in the campaign was carried to the
front by aircraft. Sixteen C-4is and several A-29'S, based at Ward's
Drome, Port Moresby, delivered a total of 2A50 tons to the landing
strips at Dobodura, Popondetta, and Pongani and dropped 166 tons at
,mall grounds designated along the jungle trails. Small arms, am-
munition, mortar shells, and medical supplies were dropped with
parachutes; food, clothing, and individual equipment other than arms,
without parachutes.
The losses in dropping without parachutes averaged 50 per cent.
For example, cans of bully beef broke open and spoiled. Dropping
grounds were hard to find; smudge fires and panels often did not
Strip No.4 at Dobodllra.
Troops Embarking ;1/ a C-47.
identify the area sufficiently, and occasionally loads landed in enemy
territory. Hungry men watched every incoming plane for good
drops. "Convey our compliments to pilot and crew of Dutch Boy.
They really laid delivery on the door step," said Maj. Herbert M.
Smith, speaking for the 2d Battalion, I26th Infantry.
Pilots made their turn-around as quickly as possible. Two planes,
Sleepy Sally and Eager Beaver, on 4 December made two trips from
Port Moresby to Hariko, a distance of 9D miles, and dropped both
loads at Hariko Witllin 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Approximately half of the supplies were seaborne. On '4 Novem-
ber, 45 tons a week of rations for the men on the east flank were
ordered shipped to Pongani via Milne Bay. Cargoes were transferred
at Milne Bay from ocean freighters to smaller vessels of 50 to 500 tons,
which crept around East Cape and wougb Ward Hunt Strait to Oro
Bay. Enemy planes and surface craft made it dangerous for ships to
remain at Oro Bay during daylight hours, so loads were transferred to
smaller craft which made hazardous nightly runs through reef-studded
coastal waters to an advance supply base. There the troops, partly in-
fantry, partly units of the H>7th Quartermaster Battalion, put out
through the surf in native outrigger canoes and unloaded the cases of
food and equipment.
This seaborne supply line remained always under weat of inter-
ruption. Attacks by enemy planes on 16-17 November put it out of
operation for 3 weeks. The 22d Portable Hospital on the Alacrity,
one of the four boats sunk in the first of these attacks, lost four men
and all of its equipment and supplies. On 23 December, two enemy
PT-type boats sank a ship off Hariko and machine-gunned the supply
base. However, waugh most of the period, the Allied forces on
the east flank were successfully supplied by the sea route.
The chain of supply stretched 1,700 miles from bases in Australia
to the landing fields, dropping grounds, and coastal dumps. From
such forward points, cargoes had to be transported to the men in
and directly behind the combat lines. This last vital transport link
was formed by a few peeps and some 700 fuzzy-headed native carriers,
who delivered their 40 pounds apiece to dumps just outside the range
of small-arms fire.
Requests for supplies flowed from the front to Lt. Col. Ralph T.
Birkeness, Division Quartermaster at Port Moresby. All were marked
Notive Slretc"" BeauTS with Wounded American.
On t h ~ trail from the:: Buna Front to Sime::mi.
Supplies /or Headquarlrrs.
Native:: carriers and guards on tbe:: trail from Oro Bay to the:: Buna Front.
urgent. He had to assign priorities on the limited space of the planes
and boats, determining whether the soldiers would receive bullets or
rations, or food for the natives who were indispensahle as carriers and
would go home unless red, or replacements for the ordnance watches
"going to hell" in the damp climate of the Papuan jungle and needed
for synchronization of combat efforts, or canister and Rame throwers
when weapons available in the front lines failed to solve tactical
problems. On one occasion, General Harding wired from his ad-
vanced headquarters, "So many priorities on medical, engineer, anti -
aircraft and other [supplies 1 are causing neglect of general ammuni-
tion and food for our fighting men."
Quartermaster officers in the field reported that the troops subsisted
for almost a week on a daily diet of one-third of a "c" ration and
one-sixth of a "D" ration':' equivalent to about 1,000 calories a day.
Even when shipping space was available, the problem was not solved.
Foods in glass jars were packed in paper cartons which disintegrated
in the rain. The jars, unprotected by cartons, often broke. There
was a shortage of packing equipment. Parachutes used for the drops
had to be salvaged for further use. However, as the operation pro-
gressed, both headquarters and offi cers at the front learned by trial
and error what was needed, in what quantity, and bow to use effi-
ciently the available transportation.
The establishment and maintenance of communications across the
Owen Stanley Mountains and in ti,e Buna area involved many diffi-
culties. Shortage of space on the air supply line from Port Moresby
limited delivery of equipment. Radio sets corroded or shortcircuited
in the hot, moist air even when protected from the heavy rains. The
more powerful radios used for communication between the front and
Port Moresby worked well, but the limited Signal Corps staff was
swamped with the coding and decoding of messages. Portable radios
were often ineffective because the dense growth of trees and under-
brush limited their range.
Headquarters at Simemi was connected with Dobodura, Hariko,
and Oro Bay by teletype. Telephone wires were laid to each regi-
mental headquarters, to the four air strips, to aircraft warning stations,
and to all artillery batteries. Where jungle and swamp were abso-
lutely impenetrable, reels were mounted on rafts and field wire was
, A "C" .. Ilion 4.2 and :l "0" ration consists of thrrc cho.:olatr bars.
strung on trees as the rafts Aoated downstream. Altogether some 300
miles of wire were laid, all of it by hand and much of it under fire.
On Decemher, ISt Lt. Philip S. Winson of the 32rl Signal Company,
while laying a baltalion pOSI lelephone linc, was wilh a
platoon of the 126th Infantry which was isolated hy enemy counter-
attack. For organizing the defense of several captured enemy
bunkers, he received a citation.
Lines were frequently broken by enemy patrols or bombing.
Native carriers innocently cut lengths of wire to tie up their bundles.
Repair parties were sniped at by the Japanese in daylight, and at night
were fired on by our own men, who were suspicious of any movement
in the dark. However, communications were maintained effectively
throughout the operation; few eompbints were heard.
, .
Foc. p. 27

2 126 (22 November)
1: ::';:,'1

k\' ,. j
19 NOVEMBER-----14 DECEMBER 1942
, e=3
o 500 ya rds

I 126 (20 Nov,mb,,)
CorloQrophlc Secfton, Diss Unit by J.R.HoQon
Battering at Buna
{I9 l)ecernberJ
(Map NO.4. facing page 27)
Early on 19 November the 1St and 3d Battalions, 128th Infantry,
moved north in the rain along parallel trails to attack the Japanese
forces on the east flank, which ran from the sea along the New Strip
to Simemi Creek. C Company led the 1St Battalion up the coastal
Irail toward Duropa Plantation; the 3d Battalion, with K Company as
advance guard, trudged along the track from Simemi village toward
the New Strip. Both units advanced until they met rifle and automa-
tic fire, then stopped. Ground observation was impossible; jungle and
,wamp limited expansion of the front and prevented direct communi-
cation between the two battalions. The 3d Battalion was about 500
yards southwest of the New Strip, and the 1St Battalion was approxi-
mately abreast on the coast. During the day, in the confusion of at-
tack in the jungle, the leading units were completely out of contact
with one another and had even lost contact within themselves. As
night came on, rain was again falling. Our men could hear the
sound of truck motors behind the Japanese lines, indicating that rein-
forcements were coming up; they could also hear the noise of pound-
ing which suggested that the enemy was strengthening his defenses.
With this attack the Buna operation really commenced. It was not
to be marked by broad strategic movements, for the terrain limited
our action to a series of penetrations along well-defined corridors
through the impassable swamps. During the first 26 days, our troops
felt out the strength of the enemy's position, determined the general
line of his well-<:amouflaged defensive works, and at the end of the
period captured Buna Village. Our initial attempt to rush the enemy
defenses had to give way to tactics of dogged infiltration by small
groups, bunker to bunker, until the last stubbornly defende" bunker
was taken. Toward the end of December the introduction of light
tanks and the weakening of the enemy forces speeded up the action,
but throughout the operation it was the individual soldier's battle.
Often cut off from his fellows by dense jungle underbrush, crawling
on his belly in the sticky mud, each infantryman had to learn to
fight alone.
The disappointing results of the attack on 19 November did not
destroy the confidence of our troops in a quick success, for Buna
Mission was only 3 miles away. The 1st Battalion, 126th Infantry,
arrived at the front during the 20th and went into the line on the
right of the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, which by evening had
pushed to the edge of Duropa Plantation. For tPe 21st, Division
Headquarters ordered an all-out attack along tile entire front, to be
preceded by a bombing run of our planes along tile enemy positions
in the Plantation.
The front lines were so indistinct in tile jungle that the bombing
on the eastern front caused some casualties in the 3d Battalion, 128th
Infantry, and damaged the morale of the entire unit. Apart from
the failure of the air preparation, things went wrong, for the troops
did not receive the divisional attack order until well after the bombing
was over. The infantry attack was finally launched late in the after-
noon, following another bombing raid and a mortar concentration.
Units made slight a"vances, met well-directed lire from snipers,
machine guns, and mortars, and then withdrew to their original
On this same day, our first offensive against the western end of
the Japanese stronghold also failed. The 2d Battalion, 128t1l Infantry,
moved up west of the great swamp to take tile place of the 1st
Rattalion, I26th Infantry (less three platoons of C Company and all
of D Company), which, after its exhausting march over the mountains
had been attached to the Australian 7th Division in operations west
of the Girua River. The fresh battalion attacked up the Ango
trail toward the junction where branches forked to the Mission on
the right and to Buna Village on the left. As tile point of the
battalion approached tllis junction, the leader, Sgt. Irving W. Hall
of F Company, spotted a Japanese machine gun ')0 yarus ahead. By
cool action he got his men off the trail hefore the enemy opened fire,
and the remainder of the hattalion moved lip Oil both sides of the
trail against the narrow salient in the fork. At 1330;; enemy fire
from the salient, later known as the Triangle, had stopped our troops.
This area was to be the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting on the
whole Runa front.
On 22 November the 2d Rattalion, 126th Infantry, was released
by the Australian 7th Division to the 32d Division and Juvanceu
along the Ango trail to support the 2d BattJlion, 128th Infantry.
This was the last major troop movement on the Buna front until
reinforcements arrived. Henceforth, the 2d Battalions of the I26th
Infantry anu l28th Infantry were called the Urbana Force. Under
the command of Col. John W. Mott, this force operated in the
corridor west of the great swamp. On the east of that barrier, between
Simemi Creek and the sea, the 1st and 3d Battalions of the I28th
Infantry, the 1st Battalion of the 126th Infantry, and the Australian
2/6 Independent Company formed the Warren Force under Brig.
Gen. HJnford MacNider. When this officer was wounded on the
23d, Col. J. Tracy Hale, J r., of the 128th Infantry took over command
of the Warren Force. Until I January, these forces were to fight
separate actions, each with its own story.
The Urbana Force began an attack toward the Triangle on 24
November (Sketch No. I, page 30). E Company, 126th Infantry,
moved to the left Rank and got 400 yanls out into the swamp without
meeting enemy opposition. By the next day it had struggled through
the swamp to a point beyond Entrance Creek, close to the left-fork
trail to the Village.
F Company, 128th Infantry, moved directly up the trail; E and G
Companies, 128th Infantry, swung around the right Rank. Enemy
barbed wire and machine-gun fire stopped F Company at the apex
of the Triangle. For a while tllC right-Rank companies had easy
going. Then, as they came out on the kunai-grass strip soutbeast
of tl,e Triangle, tl,ey encountered enemy fire. By dark it was clear
that the enemy had drawn them into a trap on the relatively open
ground, swept by fire from his fortifications. G Company lost its
6o-mm mortars and light machine guns, and the men were forced
• Time used in thi s pamphlet is Melbourne time plus I hour.
• I " • •
-w",'. ~ . · i ~ ; . I'![;:,:P{ifi :." .' •.
.. ~ .'.: : ..
. .. . \
Allied opprooch Un.
Enemy delenH lone
Coconut trMS
.....,. . . ...,..

~ -
into the swamp to the south, Ammunition ran low, and there was
no food, During the night most of the company made its way back
to the main force,
The day's fighting established clearly that the main enemy position
in front of the Urbana Force was the deep narrow salient of the
Triangle, commanding the Ango trail. Attack on the east side
of this position was hampered both by swamp and by the open grass
strip, where the enemy had excellent fields of fire, but the advance
of E Company on the left suggested that the Triangle might be
skirted on its western side, Consequently, attacks on the Urbana
front during the next month were directed at the area west and north
of the Triangle,
On Thanksgiving Day, 26 November, the main action shifted to
the Warren front, where our forces made a heavy attack, concentrat-
ing in a push northward through the Duropa Plantation. The 3d
Battalion, 128th Infantry, left I Company under Lt. Carl K. Fryday
to guard the Simemi trail, moved over to the coast and joined the
rst Battalion, 126th Infantry, to form the first wave. The 1st Bat-
talion, 128th Infantry, followed 100 yards in rear of the left flank,
l a p a n a ~ De/emu in the Dllropa Plantation.
ready to push through and swing west. The frontage of the 3d
Battalion, which made the main push on the coast, was about 400
yards; that of the 1st Battalion on the left was 800 yards; company
fronts varied from 125 to 600 yards, depending on the opposition
The attack of the 26th was the first in which the artillery could
furnish real support. When the initial plans were made shipping
had not been available for the transportation of artillery by sea; moving
it by land over the mountains was obviously impossible; but by almost
single-handed exertions, Brig. Gen. (now Maj. Gen.) Albert W. Wal-
dron, Divisional Artillery Officer, managed to work some pieces for-
ward by water and by air. On 26 November the following artillery
had arrived:
01 Plt'eN Arl;lIt'ry Unit
3 3·7-in. howitzers Australian 1St Mountain Battery.
2 25-pounders ... One troop, Australian 2/ 5 Field Regiment.
4 2s-pounders One troop, Australian 2/ ' Field Regiment .
IOs-mm howitzer . Battery A, U. S. 129th Field Artillery Battalion.
The artillery was divided between the east flank, on the coast north
of Hariko, and the west flank in the vicinity of Ango, but the area
of operations was so small that the fire of all guns could be concen-
trated at any point on the front. At first, however, the artillery was
handicapped by inadequate maps and lack of ground observation.
The Hight of Australian Wirraway observation planes which had been
brought up to Dobodura to meet this difficulty, did good work through-
out the campaign in adjusting artillery fire. The pilots of the Wir-
raways were fearless in their hazardous job of hovering over enemy
positions; one pilot even crept up on an unsuspecting Zero and downed
it by one short burst.
Shortage of ammunjtion was also a problem. The original am-
munition supply plan had to be given up by 7 December because
of djfficulties in transportation. Supply in predetermined quantities
and types was then tried but abandoned on '7 December, partly be-
cause of frequent changes in requirements. Thenceforth ammunition
was supplied through requisition by rounds of specific types, but
always had to be used with the greatest economy. On 26 December
the Australian 1st Mountain Battery ran out of ammunition and took
no further part in the operation.
The Warren Force's attack on the morning of 26 November was
preceded by aerial strafing and bombing. From <YJ30 to 0825, P-40'S
ancl Rcaufighters strafed at tree-top level from the west end of the
New Strip to Cape Endaiadcre. A-20's homhed the rcar arcas from
0835 to oR53. These air attacks were followed hy a half hour of
pounding by the artillery, mortars, and machine guns. Everything
proceeded according to schedule until the infantry jumped off at 0930.
At once it became apparent that the supporting fires had not touched
the enemy bunkers. Concealed machine guns and snipers opened
LIp, and at nightfall our lines were in practically the same position
as before the attack. Units of the 1st Battalion. I26th Infantry, had
got close enough to the Japanese bunkers to see that the enemy
machine guns were barricaded with oil drums and had a roof over
them, but our troops did not yet fully understand the nature of the
Japanese defenses.
A 3-day lull followed this repulse. On the Urbana front, units
worked along the left flank to extend the line which E Company
had previously established on the Buna Village trail. Active patrol-
ling in this zone added to our scanty information regarding enemy
On the 30th, the attack was renewed on both fronts. The Urbana
Force made its main effort to the west of Entrance Creek. Units
of this force moved up through the swamps during the night and
jumped off before dawn against Buna Village. Within 100 yards
they met machine-gun fire but pressed on despite heavy casualties,
and by the end of the day they bad made limited gains. In a wide
flanking movement, F Company, I28th Infantry, reached Siwori Vil-
lage and so cut enemy land communication between the Buna and
Sanananda fronts. Other units got to the outskirts of Buna Village.
On the right, E Company, I28th Infantry, advanced west of Entrance
Creek toward Coconut Grove, which lies along the Buna Village
trail just north of the Triangle. They failed to take the Grove, which
was to prove almost as difficult to penetrate as the Triangle. In this
action the 2d Battalion, t28th Infantry, captured the first prisoner
taken in the Buna campaign.
The attack on the Warren front was not so successful. The plan
for the 30th differed materially from that of 26 November, when two
battalions had attacked northward in the Plantation. This time one
battalion was to move west along tbe New Strip to deal witb tbe
opposition along its nortbern edge, and only one battalion was to
advance nortb along tbe coast through the Plantation. TIle battalion
in reserve would be ready to support either attack. Bren-gun carriers
which had been counted on to spearhead tbe attack failed to arrive
because of a shortage in shipping.
The infantry, attacking at dawn, made almost no progress. Lead-
ing tbe push nortb through the Plantation, A Company, I28th In-
fantry, ran into a log barricade on its right, while its left platoon
was held up b ~ automatic fire. It tried to knock out the barricade
by mortar fire, but failed. Then a 37-mm gun was brought up for
direct fire on the obstacle, but still the company could not advance.
By noon tbe men were digging in where they were, and at nightfall
B Company relieved tbem squad by squad.
Two companies of the 1st Battalion, 126th Infantry, pushed toward
the eastern end of the New Strip but fared little better. C Company,
advancing west on tbe south edge, was stopped when it was halfway
along tbe strip by heavy fire coming from tbe nortb across tbe open
field. It was apparent tbat Japanese defenses, concealed where tbe
Duropa Plantation surrounds tbe spur which juts off nortbeast from
tbe strip, commanded all tbe neighboring cleared ground. B Com-
pany reached the southeastern tip of tbe New Strip but got no farther.
At the conclusion of the attack on 30 November, tbe Warren Force
had not penetrated the main line of enemy defensive positions, which
was not to be cracked until tanks were employed on 18 December.
Through tbe Duropa Plantation, from the sea to tbe nortb end of tbe
little spur off tbe New Strip, tbe Japanese had a strong line of bunkers,
each surrounded by individual emplacements linked witb the main
bunker by trenches. The western end of this line, just nortbwest of
the spur, formed an almost impregnable strongpoint with fields of
fire to tbe east across the spur, to tile south across the New Strip, and
to tbe west across tbe open ground north of the New Strip.
In many ways this strongpoint was the key defensive position in tbe
Plantation area. As long as the enemy held it, tbe line to the coast
could not be turned on its western extremity; frontal assault by
infantry supported only by mortar and artillery fire proved unsuc-
cessful time and time again. When the enemy defenses at tbe bridge
on tbe Sinlemi-Buna trail over Sinlemi Creek were explored in the
' r, '
next few days, it was discovered that another strongpoint had been
constructed there. The cross fire between the bunkers at the bridge
and the bunkers at the east end of the New Strip was to make attack
north across the open ground of the strip so costly as to be impractical.
Finally, Allied naval support was not available to carry out an
amphibious landing farther up in the Plantation.
Meanwhile, a new commander for the forces attacking Buna was
on the way. Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, Commander of the
U. S. I Corps, and staff officers landed at Dobodura on the morning
of , December, after conferring with General MacArthur in Port
Moresby the previous evening. At '300 on the same day he assumed
command of the Allied forces operating east of the Girua River.
The following morning General Eichelberger and his staff carne to
the front and watched another attack all along the line. The Urbana
Force again attacked Buna Village and again failed, although G Com-
pany, 126th Infantry, under Lt. Cladie A. Bailey, mopped up a japa-
nese command post and supporting bunkers and then advanced Our
right Bank to Entrance Creek. On the Warren front, the two main
enemy positions, one at the bridge over Simemi Creek and the other
in Duropa Plantation, stood as firmly as ever. B Company, 126th In-
fantry, got men within 25 yards of enemy positions in the Plantation.
They could not penetrate the final protective lines, where they ran
into well-coordinated machine-gun fire, and were forced to withdraw
to the southeastern tip of the strip. At the Simemi bridge, A Com-
pany, 128th Infantry, tried grenades, 6o-mm mortar fire, and infiltra-
tion, but could not reduce the bunkers or get men through the murder-
ous cross fire of enemy light machine guns so sited that they swept
the level terrain. At the close of the day the japanese positions in the
key areas were as strong as they had been when first assaulted on 19
Even before tbe attack on 2 December, our troops were tired and
dispirited, and this last repulse reduced their confidence to a low ebb,
probably the lowest of the entire campaign. Two weeks of fighting
had not even dented the japanese line. Rations had been so short
that troops sometimes received only one-sixth of a "C" ration per day.
Torrential rain alternated with jungle heat. The insects seemed as de-
termined as the enemy. Casualties from disease and wounds had
reduced all battalions to approximately half strength.
by air and water and quicker distribution to front-line units. The
Bren-gun carriers, with Australian crews, arrived, and orders were
prepared for an advance on the morning of 5 December. On the
Warren front all three battalions were to take part. While two fol-
lowed the Brens north through the Plantation, the third was to take
the bridge over Simemi Creek (Sketch NO.2, page 37).
Early on the morning of the 5th, six A-20'S made a bombing run
from the Old Strip to Cape Endaiadere, and all the artillery in the
Buna area concentrated its fire 500 yards ahead of our troops in the
Plantation. At 0842 L Company, 128th Infantry, moved forward
with the Brens on a 200-yard front while our machine guns strafed
the trees to comb out the snipers. The presence of the Bren-gun car-
riers proved a complete surprise to the enemy, but he quickly rallied.
As the Brens swung to the west to rake the enemy front lines, snipers
in the trees picked off the crews from above; Japanese soldiers on
the ground tossed hand grenades over the sides of the carriers.
Within 30 minutes the Brens were immobilized. Fire from the front
and from the strongpoint to the left pinned down the infantry, and
by 1000 our men had withdrawn to their original lines. The Brens
Disabft'd Brt'n-Glln Corrit'rr.
After the attack of 5 December in the Duropa Plantation.
lay deserted out in front and were stripped of their weapons by the
Japanese before nightfall.
The 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, moved up to the left of the 3d
Battalion and attacked north across the eastern end of the New Strip
toward the Japanese strongpoint. Under Lt. Samuel J. Scott, A Com-
pany made its way across the strip by noon and pushed on toward the
spur. B Company under Lt. Milan 1. Bloecher then went in on the
left to cross the strip just west of the spur. At '400 it had reached
the south edge of the strip and set up its light machine guns on the
left to protect the crossing. The soldiers crawled out in the fairly
high grass, only to meet very heavy sniper fire when they reached a
bare spot in the middle of the New Strip. The heat of the sun in
the tall grass was terrific; the crack of a sniper's shot or a short
burst from an enemy light machine gun followed any incautious
movement. By 1700 the men of both A and B Companies were
exhausted. At nightfall B Company reassembled on the south edge
of the New Strip. The Antitank Platoon of the 1st Battalion, now
constituted as a rifle unit, crawled up to relieve A Company in the
Plantation just south of the spur.
The 1St Battalion, I26th Infantry, was meanwhile attacking the
bunker area at the bridge over Simemi Creek. Fire from mortars
and 37-mm guns forced the Japanese out of some of their positions
east of the bridge. Then A Company and elements of C Company
closed for an assault, but machine-gun fire on their left flank forced
their withdrawal to a line about 200 yards south of the bridge. When
artillery fire failed to reduce the enemy defenses, frontal attack was
given up and B Company, relieving A on the line in the afternoon,
Iried to bypass the strongpoint by infiltrating across the creek south-
west of the bridge. The attempt was frustrated by deep water and
impassable swamp. No further gains were made during the day on
that sector.
On the Urbana front, the 2d Battalion, 126th Infantry, was given
the task of pushing through to the sea, thus cutting off Buna Village
from the Mission (Sketch NO. 3, page 40) . The 2d Battalion, 128th
Infantry, was to protect both flanks of the 126th. The infantry
attacked at 1030 after an artillery and mortar concentration. For
the first 30 minutes it met little opposition as it advanced cautiously
through the jungle. Then the Cannon Company, 128th Infantry,
1-_ -= • ...: OECEM8ER 1942
stALl ," 'AfIO'i
100 so (I 100
AllIed opprooeh 1M.
Enemy 08'-- WI'
Coconut trllS
pushing ahead on the left along the Girua River, ran into mortar fire
as it came out in the open. It stopped and sent a patrol toward the
Village, but machine-gun fire almost at once pinned the patrol to the
ground. Until late afternoon there was no further advance in this
In the middle of the line, E Company, I26th Infantry, skirted the
Village in such close contact with the enemy that little supporting
fire was possible. G Company advanced on the right flank of E
Company, and one platoon of G had driven to the sea by 1330. The
platoon established itself on the beach between the maze of Japanese
tunnel and pillbox positions at Buna Mission and another maze at
Buna Village. Several enemy counterattacks were repulsed. By
occupying this point, the platoon cut the Village from the Mission
area, where the Japanese had a pool of troops and supplies to reinforce
the Village. The platoon leader was German-born S/Sgt. Herman J.
Bottcher, who had served in the Loyalist International Brigade in the
Spanish Civil War; for his outstanding accomplishment in this action
he was made a captain.
General Eichelberger spent the entire day at the front; both his
aide and General Waldron were wounded during the course of the
attack. He sent two platoons of F Company to help E Company
hold the line toward the Village. By nightfall the wedge to the sea
was firmly established. For the first time since the campaign began,
the Japanese line had been broken.
Lt. Cen. Robert L. Elc//dbergu
CommalldUlg Ge1ural, I Corpl, United Stala Army
For the next week activity was very restricted. The Warren Force
had thrown everything available at the enemy, again without success.
Baffled and disheartened, it settled down in its positions. Gas stoves
were brought up to provide hot meals, and the soldiers were permitted
to have their pack rolls.
New tactics now were adopted. Artillery and mortar concentra-
tions preceding earlier attacks had not succeeded in knocking out
the Japanese defenses, partly because fire was directed too far behind
the enemy front lines. The arti ll ery preparation had served also to
warn the enemy of impending attack. When the artillery opened
fire, Japanese troops found relative security in their bunkers; when
it ended, they crawled out into firing positions. Our infantry usually
pulled back before the artillery concentration began and advanced
after it ended to find the Japanese ready and waiting for them.
Henceforth, the mortars fired at irregular intervals and only on targets
located as accurately as possible. Patrols were pushed up to feci out
any weak spots in the Japanese lines and so assist in inching our
offensive forward by infiltration. Hand grenades were used more
frequently as the firing slits and rear entrances of enemy bunkers
were discovered. Although the success of these tactics was limited
when measured in terms of advancing our lines, the patrol activity
enabled us to fix the location of enemy bunkers and ti,e persistent
mortar fire wore down enemy Strength and morale day by day.
Prisoners of war reported that our mortar fire was extremely effec-
tive; all agreed that our mortars and artillery were more feared than
air support.
Enemy counterattacks came from both Ranks on the 6tll, but the
units on the Urbana front held tightly to their corridor. The next
day they tried to take the Village. F Company, 126tll Infantry,
captured a trench at the edge of ti,e Village, while G Company
moved up to Coconut Grove. Early in the afternoon tI,eir battalion
co=ander, Maj . Herbert M. Smith, was wounded. The greatly
weakened companies on this Rank could do little more than hold
their positions. Further advance was impossible witllOut reinforce-
The needed reinforcements were provided. The 3d Battalion,
I27th Infantry, under Lt. Col. Edwin W. Swedberg, finished its
movement by air from Port Moresby to Dobodura and Popondetta
on 9 December; on the 11th, it relieved the 2d Battalion, 126th Infantry,
and on the following day began active night patrolling. On the
morning of the 14th, after spending 2 days in the line to become
acquainted with the location of enemy defenses and the nature of
the terrain, I and K Companies, 127th Infantry, attacked Buna Village,
following a mortar concentration of 400 rounds. Within an hour
they had overrun the last enemy resistance in this area. Most of the
enemy had retired before we advanced. The only American casualty
was a souvenir-hunting soldier of the 126th Infantry.
On the same da y the three battalions on the Warren front received
new commanders: Maj. Chester M. Beaver for the 1st Battalion, 126th
Infantry; Lt. Col. Alexander J. MacNab for the 3d Battalion,
128th Infantry; and Maj. Gordon M. Clarkson for the 1st Battal-
ion, 128th Infantry. The Warren Force had inrproved greatly in
morale during the comparative rest of the past week. It was soon to
renew the attack.
On the evening of the [4th the American line ran from the sea east
of Buna Village rough 1 y along the Buna Village trail, bending around
the Coconut Grove and along the west edge of the Triangle to the
Ango trail. After a wide gap covered by impassable swamp, our line
began again with the jungle along Simemi Creek just south of the
bridge bunkers and curved nortlleast across the western end of the
New Strip. The open ground south of the New Strip between the
bridge and the Plantation was constantly patrolled. At the eastern
end of the New Strip our line looped northward to encircle a spur
of the strip, then ran eastward through the Duropa Plantation to
the sea.
Although heartbreaking setbacks, each with costly casualties, had
thus far attended the campaign, our situation was actually inrproved
to a marked degree. The 2d Battalion, 126th Infantry, had shown
that the enemy lines on the west Rank could be broken. The nature
of the enemy defenses in the Plantation and bridge areas had become
much clearer, even though our troops did not yet have the right
weapon to smash them. The supply of the force was more effective;
rear echelons now functioned with relative smoothness; command
had been reorganized in all echelons; and most important, the troops
had learned much from hard experience and were becoming
The enemy situation, on the other hand, had deteriorated consider-
ably, though our soldiers were not yet aware of the fact. Each of our
attacks had added to his casualties, the failure of long-promised rein-
forcements to arrive had sapped morale, and our aerial superiority had
prevented supply except by parachute and by small coastal boats.
After the last delivery by parachute on IO December, the enemy supply
situation grew ever more critical. His morale began slowly to crack.
One Japanese soldier wrote in his diary:
With the dawn the enemy starts shooting all over. All I can do is shed tears
of resemment. Now we are waiting only for death. The news that reinforce-
ment had come turned out to be a rumor. All day we stay in the bunkers. We
are filled with vexation. Comrades, are you going to stand by and watch us die?
Even the invincible Imperial Army is at a loss.
Face p . • S
~ D - . .
t> -. ---'·1
I f" 1 I
Mo No. 5
15 DECEMBER 1942 ---- 3 JANUARY 1943
o 500 yards
Orown in the Cortoqrophic Secl ion, OilS. Lnt by J.R HOQon
Warren Front: Capture of the Old
Strip (15 December- 3 January)
(Map NO.5, facing page 45)
Incessant attacks on both fronts characterized the final phase of the
Buna operation. On the Warren front the Australian 18th Infantry
Brigade,' seasoned veterans of Libya, Greece, Crete, and Syria, had
come up in small boats from Milne Bay and with them came seven
light tanks. Their commander, Brigadier (now Maj. Gen.) George
F. Wootten, who was senior to Col. Martin, took over command of
the front on 17 January. The next day, the Australian 2/ 9 Infantry
nattalion, aided by the tanks, attacked northward along the coast,
drove through the intricate network of the enemy defenses to Cape
Endaiadere, and then swung west parallel with the shore. By the
20th our line ran along Simemi Creek from the bridge to its mouth.
Here we were held up until the Australian 2/ 10 Infantry Battalion
crossed the creek north of the bridge and outRanked the enemy
positions in the bridge area.
An advance northwest up the Old Strip by one Australian and two
American battalions brought our troops on 28 December to the final
enemy position in the Government Plantation southeast of Giropa
Point. On 1-2 January the Australian 2/ 12 Battalion and tanks
crushed this last organized strongpoint on the Warren front.
On 15 December the Warren &ont began to stir with preparations
for an attack. During the next 3 days all three of the American
battalions in the line edged forward until they were pressing tightly
against the enemy all along the front.
~ An Au'tralian infantry brigade i ~ equivalent to a U. S. infantry regiment.
On the 17th Brigadier Wootten assumed command. During the
evening the seven General Stuart light tanks of X Squadron, Austra-
lian 2/6 Armored Regiment, rumbled up close to the front while
mortars fired as rapidly as possible to conceal the noise of their motors.
Later in the night a Japanese patrol alerted the front of the 1St Bat-
talion, 128th Infantry, but moved off to the east without discovering
Before dawn on the 18th, our troops in the Plantation withdrew 300
yards to allow the artillery to smash directly at the bunkers which
the infantry had located in the advance of the past 3 days. During
the la-minute concentration by artillery and mortars, the Australian
2/9 Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Clement J. Cummings passed
through the American units and worked its way toward the former
front line. To insure complete surprise, these Australian units had
been kept in rear areas until the actual time of the attack.
At 0700 the Australians jumped off. The artillery and mortars had
wrecked the enemy front lines, and within an hour and a half, A and
D Companies of the 2/ 9 Battalion, advancing with the tanks, had
reached the Cape. They then swung west along the north coast but
were stopped in front of a new line of Japanese bunkers which the
artillery had not reached. Two tanks were knocked out by 13-mm
antiaircraft pompoms, and after IIOO there was no further advance
in this zone. During the afternoon the 3d Battalion, 128th Infantry,
moved forward in the Plantation, mopping up and establishing an
all-around beach defense south of the Cape.
C Company, 2/ 9 Battalion, attacked the enemy strongpoint at the
spur of the New Strip. Enemy reinforcements were observed enter-
ing this ground in the morning, and the strongpoint put up stiff re-
sistance throughout the day. Although tanks knocked out three
or four bunkers with their 37-mm guns, the Australian infantry
could not advance because of heavy fire from the remaining bunkers.
Shortly after noon one tank was burned out in front of the 1St Bat-
talion, 128th Infantry, which had been committed by this time on
both flanks of C Company. Finally, in the late afternoon, the
Australians began to work around the bunkers. Under the threat
of being cut off, the enemy evacuated the strongpoint and fell back
westward along the jungle north of the New Strip to the bunkers
near the bridge. In the bridge area the 1st Battalion, I26th Infantry,
" ;;




" <:
made no advance during the day, but artillery and mortar fire caused
a considerable number of casualties among enemy troops In the
vicinity of his hunkers.
Three of the tanks had heen knocked out, and one-third of the
AlIStralians were casualties, hm the Allied attack on Ihe 18th had
smashed once and for all the Japanese defenses in the Plantation.
As our troops moved forward through the coconut trees, they found
that the whole area was a mass of fortifications which the infantry
alone could probably never have stormed. Some bunkers on the
front line had roofs 3 to 4 feet thick; others had a layer of sheet iron
on top and a front wall 6 feet thick. Surrounding them were in-
dividual covered (ire pits with gun slits. These facts help to explain
how the enemy defense had been able to stand up under our repeated
On 19 December our line pushed about 300 yards westward through
the Plantation along a I,ooo-yard front. The following day the
2/9 Battalion and units of the 3d Battalion, I28th I nfantry, advanced
into the narrow nose of land on the north side of Simemi Creek.
The 1st Battalion, I28th Infantry, which had followed the withdraw-
ing enemy along the north edge of the New Strip, joined the 1st
Battalion, I26th Infantry, in assailing the bunkers on the east side
of the creek, and this time everyone was taken. By noon of the
20th our troops were at the bridge.
The bridge over Simemi Creek might better be called a causeway,
for it crosses more swamp than stream. The creek itself is only
about 6 feet wide at the crossing, although over a man's head in
depth, while the bridge is 125 feet long by 10 feet wide. Our troops
found that the enemy had blown a gap of some 12 feet in the bridge
over the main stream and commanded the crossing with 2 light ma-
chine guns, one .so-cal. machine gun, and 30 to 40 riflemen.
The 1st Battalion, 126th Infantry, spent the rest of the 20th and
most of that night in attempting to get men across the creek. After
the morning attack, units reorganized and in the early afternoon rec-
onnoitered the bridge position. At 1650-1700 artillery and mortars
laid down a concentration, and at 1700-1705 the mortars provided a
smoke screen. Under cover of this, the pioneers brought up a catwalk,
but it proved to be too short to span the gap. Enemy fire from the
west bank on both sides of the bridge still raked the crossing, and the
attack failed. Our forces were now facing along the creek from its
mouth to the bridge, with the exception of a small tip of jungle at
the very end of the nose. The 1st Battalion attacked the bridge again
at midnight, B Company going single-file into the creek to the south
of the bridge, but the leading platoon found the water too deep for
wading and the enemy opposition as stiff as ever. Action was finally
called off for the night, and Brigade Headquarters decided to outflank
the bridge positions from the north.
On the 21St the Australian 2/10 Battalion, under Col. James G.
Dobbs, which had come up by boat on the 19th, was put in the line
along the creek north of the bridge. During the day some of its
men worked their way across the swampy creek at the big bend due
north of the bridge. More got across during the following day, and
by the 23d the entire :2110 Battalion commanded the bridge area from
the north. Enemy defenders of the bridge area were now threatened
with complete encirclement but put up determined opposition when
the 1st Battalion, 126th Infantry, at last succeeded in pushing across
the bridge immediately after noon and moved up the southern edge
of the Old Strip. The 1st Battalion was now moving parallel with
the :2110 Battalion, which was advancing in skirmisher formation
along the northern edge. Later in the afternoon the 1st Battalion,
12Bth Infantry, crossed the bridge and moved along the jungle south
of the Old Strip as a left-Rank guard. By nightfall our forward ele-
ments had advanced Boo yards from the bridge up the Old Strip, and
the 3d Platoon of C Company, 114th Engineers, had completely re-
paired the bridge. It was now capable of carrying our light tanks.
The 2/ 9 Battalion and the 3d Battalion, I2Bth Infantry, remained in
the area between Simemi Creek and Cape Endaiadere to guard the
The three battalions west of the creek spent the next 5 days in fight-
ing their way up the Old Strip. Until the very end of the campaign
our troops always found that the Japanese, when pried out of one
position, fell back into another just as strong or even stronger. The
entire area of the Old Strip was commanded by a group of enemy
bunkers at the northwest end of the runway; other bunkers dotted
the northern edge and the center of the strip itself. On the 24th the
tanks crossed the reinforced bridge over Simemi Creek and went in on
the northeast flank. They found the going difficult. One overturned
in a shell crater, and enemy 37-mm fire and Molotov cocktails had
immobilized the rest by IllS. Nevertheless, our line had advanced
about 500 yards by nightfall, except in the sector of the 1st Battalion,
128th Infantry, which was floundering in the swamp on the extreme
south flank. After dark it was brought out and stationed in the open
field behind the 1st Battalion, 126th Infantry.
Christmas was just another day. As one soldier wrote, "We hung
out our socks and got water in them." For the units struggling on
the open surface of the Old Strip it was a particularly uncomfortable
day. Christmas Eve was marked by enemy bombing and the harass-
ing fire of our mortars. After an artillery concentration at dawn, the
infantry attacked, ran up against enemy bunkers, and recoiled to
their original positions. C Company, 126th Infantry, spearheading
the advance on the south side of the strip, was stopped hy an extremely
difficult bunker. One platoon of B Company swung around our right
flank, and Col. Martin, commander of the 128th Infantry, took A
Company around the left, but the bunker still stood at nightfall .
Our line then consisted of an open V with the arms pointed up the
Old Strip, the Australians on the right and the Americans on the left,
with a strong enemy pocket between them. '
On the 26th our lines edged up a little as men of the 1st Battalion,
126th Infantry, outflanked and captured tlle bunker which had held
them up the preceding day. A 2s-pounder of the 2/5 Field Regi-
ment was put into position in the vicinity of the bridge and fired
armor-piercing shell with supercharge against the hunkers as they
were definitely located. With this assistance the advance continued
through the late afternoon of the 27th. By evening the upper end
of the Old Strip had been reached, and our line began to swing
around toward the north against the Government Plantation, which
stretched along the coast from the mouth of Simemi Creek to Buna
Mission. The 28th saw this pivoting movement completed; our line
then pressed up against the Plantation and the dispersal bays at its
southeastern edge bordering the Old Strip .
• The: enemy bunkers and trenches in this pocket can b4= seen clearly on me photograph, p. 52.
in old Strip
Throughout our advance up the Old Strip, the situation was even
more fluid than was usual during the Buna operation. Enemy units
were becoming di sorganized and split up. Our own units had become
intermixed, and small groups of Japanese were everywhere, dressed
in American and Australian uniforms, using M-I rifles, and calling
out that they were Americans. On the night of 28 December, the
situation was so confused that the enemy was able to penetrate to
the command post of C Company, 128th Infantry, where a hand-to-
hand struggle took place in the dark.
At the Government Plantation enemy resistance stiffened. Four
new Allied tanks came up and led an advance on the afternoon of
the 29th. They did not start from the intended jumping-off line
and got out of touch with the infantry. As the tanks approached,
the Japanese withdrew from their /if>t line uf ddCllse to their sewnd;
then, while the tanks pushed on, they slipped back undetected to
reoccupy their first line in ti me to stop our infantry. To prevent a
repetition of the costly and unsuccessful attacks which had character-
ized the early fighting in the Duropa Plantation, our forces marked
time until heavy reinforcements could be brought up.
On the 30th the 3d Battalion, 128th Infantry, took over the lines
on the right opposite the di spersal bays, and on the 31St the Australian
2/ I2 Infantry Battalion, a fresh unit of the 18th Brigatle, came in to
the northwest of the 3d Battalion. More tanks arrivetl, and on I
January the 2/12 Battali on under Lt. Col. Arthur S. W. Arnold made
a thrust toward the sea across the north end of the enemy strong-
point. Within an hour of the jump-off the Australians were on the
beach just southeast of Giropa Point. In the afternoon they movetl
south in the Plantation against the main center of en em y resistance.
The 3d Battalion, 128th Infantry, closed in at the same time. By
the evening of 2 January only two small enemy pockets remainetl.
The next day the 1St anti 3d Battalions, 128th Infantry, cleaned these
out despite a last desperate stand hy the enemy. Meanwhile, the
2/ 12 Battalion moved west to make contact with the Urbana Force.
Urbana Front: Capture of Buna
Mission (IS December- 2 January)
The action on the Urbana front, without tank support, moved
forward less dramatically but with equal success. BUnJ Village had
been taken on 14 December by the 3d Battalion, 127th Infantry. On
I6 December the Coconut Grove was taken, but attacks against the
Triangle from I7 to 20 December failed. In the course of the next
3 days, units of the 127th Infantry establi shed a bridgehead on the
east bank of Entrance Creek north of the Triangle, and on 24 Decem-
ber they began to push a wedge to the sea between the Mission and
Giropa Point. By 29 December the wedge had been driven through.
The enemy thus cut off in the Mission was assailed each day until
2 January, when the Mission fell. This ended the last organized
resistance in the Buna area, but for the next few days it was necessary
to mop up the whole region.
During the afternoon of 15 December, E and F Companies, 128th
Infantry, attacked the Coconut Grove, which commanded the Buna
Village trail northwest of the Triangle. By evening they had sur-
rounded it, and the following morning they smashed through to
Entrance Creek. Their battalion commander, Lt. Col. Herbert A.
Smith, charged at the head of a squad to take one bunker; Sgt.
Howard C. Purtyman of F Company led his squad to take another;
Cpl. Daniel F. Rini of E Company captured a third bunker almost
single-handed. During the mopping-up, Cpl. Rini was shot in the
head by a wounded Japanese whom he was trying to aid. Thirty-
seven enemy dead were buried.
The Triangle still commanded our best line of supply, the Ango
trail; it was imperative to take this strongpoint before attacking the
Mission directly. G Company, I28th Infantry, attacked up the trail
on the 17th but lost 10 of the 27 men in the company witllin half an
hour. During the night of the 18th, the 2d Battalion, I26th Infantry,
moved up and shortly after dayhreak on the 19th launched another
attack. Thirteen A-20'S dropped to tree-top level to plant almost 500
2o-pound parachute bombs and to strafe the Triangle; tl,en E and G
Companies moved forward behind a rolling mortar barrage to within
grenade distance of the enemy. Here enemy riAe, grenade, and
small-mortar ("knee-mortar") fire met them. Capt. Boice, third
commander of the battalion since Port Moresby, was killed in the
action, and the battalion fell back. At 1600 another mortar concen-
tration heralded a new attack, but the troops could not advance and
dug in where they were. During the night the battalion was re-
lieved. Thirty-four men, almost half the strength of the units in-
volved, had been killed or wounded.
The 2d Battalion, 127th Infantry, under Lt. Col. Loren L. Gmeiner,
had relieved the 2d Battalion, J28th Infantry, on the 18th and now
put E Company in the lines at the Coconut Grove. On 20 December
this company under Capt. James L. Alford attacked the Triangle
from the northwest. Crossing Entrance Creek at 0845 under an
artillery concentration, they tried to rush the position under cover
of a smoke screen laid down by mortars. The attack failed. At 1230
they tried again. One platoon charged with grenades after the rest
of the company had sprayed the region with tommy-gun and other
small-arms fire, but the Japanese had evacuated the positions under
fire and set up their automatic weapons to cover all approaches to the
bunkers. The assault platoon, under Lts. Paul Whitaker and Donald
W. Feury, was hit by enfilading fire and suffered many casualties,
including both officers. E Company lost 35 men in the day's fighting.
These gallant attacks made clear the extreme difficulty of taking
the Triangle by direct assault. As a result it was decided to contain
the Triangle, to cross Entrance Creek above the Coconut Grove, and
to drive to the sea from there. Under cover of darkness on 21 De·
cember, K Company, I27th Infantry, pushed across the creek and
established a bridgehead well to the north of the Triangle. This
bridgehead was expanded by K and I Companies on the 22d; the
;ame day a platoon of F Company crossed Entrance Creek to Musita
Island in the lagoon at the mouth of the creek.
On the 23d the engineers finished a small footbridge across En-
trance Creek at the edge of the Coconut Grove, and five companies
of the I27th Infantry prepared to push to the sea along the track
through the open field known as Government Gardens. The attack
on the 24th started at 0615, but the units advancing behind a rolling
artillery barrage soon lost contact with one another in the 5-foot-
high kunai grass. On the right, I Company was held up by fire
from enemy bunkers located along the right fork of the Triangle.
During their attack, 1st Sgt. Elmer J. Burr lost his own life but saved
his company commander by smothering the explosion of an enemy
hand grenade with his body. At 0950 1 Company, relieved by G
Company, pulled back to reorganize. G Company took three of
the bunkers but got no farther.
One platoon of L Company, split into patrols, broke through a weak
spot in the defenses and got to the beach. Sgt. Kenneth E. Gruennert,
leading one of these patrols, charged a bunker single-handed and put
it out with hand grenades and rifle fire, killing three of the enemy.
In the cover of this bunker he bandaged a serious wound in his
shoulder and charged a second bunker. Its garrison fled from his
grenades, but snipers killed him before the rest of his patrol could
come up. Other groups followed, led by two officers. Lt. Charles
A. Middendorf was killed in the fight, and Lt. Fred W. Matz was
wounded by our artillery, which did not know our troops had ad-
vanced so far. The Japanese closed in hehind our forward elements,
and after dark the surviving men withdrew, circling east of the
enem y positions.
In a renewal of the attack on Christmas Day, first F Company under
Capt. Byron B. Bradford, and then A Company under Capt. Horace
N. Harger worked their way across the Government Gardens, crawl-
ing through the grass from bunker to bunker and knocking the garri-
sons out with grenades. They reached the Government Plantation
in the vicinity of the road junction 700 yards southeast of the Mis-
sion, but the enemy attacked their rear and destroyed the Weapons
Platoon of A Company. Two attempts to establish telephone com-
munication failed. The problem during the heavy fighting of the
next 3 days was to regain and maintain contact with this forward
spearhead by clearing the enemy out of the north half of Government
On 27 December General Eichelberger came up and directed the
operation. A command group under Col. J. S. Bradley, Acting Chief
of Staff, Buna Forces, undertook to establish a corridor to the 3 for-
ward companies (A, F, and also B, which had just come up from
Ango), now commanded by Major Edmund R. Schroeder. By the
morning of 28 December this was accomplished. This action com-
pletely cut off the enemy in the Triangle, and a volunteer group from
E Company led by S/ Sgt. Charles E. Wagner and Pfc. James J.
Greene, attacked this position in the evening. They found that
the enemy had at last evacuated it. Examination of the Triangle
disclosed no less than 18 bunkers, mutually supporting and connected
by trenches.
Even before the occupation of the Triangle, it was clear that the
1271h Infantry had Buna Mission in its grip, but it took 4 more days
to squeeze out the enemy. K Company attacked across the creek
east of Musita Island on the late afternoon of the 28th, but the men
who crossed in assault boats, unable to land in the face of heavy enemy
fire, returned to our side. The weight of the attack was accordingly
switched to the two ends of the arc about the Mission. On the 29th
B Company extended the corridor southeast of the Mission to the sea
and thus isolated the Mission from the enemy still holding out at
Giropa Point. During the night of the 29th a patrol from H Com-
pany under Lt. Alan W. Simms waded across the mouth of Entrance
Creek from the spit on the Village side to the spit on the Mission side
and reported the crossing feasible. On 30 December, F Company,
I28th Infantry, was moved up to Buna Village. A final assault was
planned for the 31st.
Before dawn E Company, I27th Infantry, and F Company, I28th
Infantry, began wading across and by 0500 had gained the spit on
the Mission side without opposition. Then some of our troops ad-
vanced too far and alerted the enemy. E Company swung east but was
unable to clear the bridgehead needed for G Company, I28th Infantry,
wh ich was to cross by the bridge at the east end of the island and
attack northeast toward the Mission. The 1st Battalion, I27th In-
fantry, advancing on the right flank as the other jaw of the pincers,
was held up along the beach.
Yet the end was not far off. A patrol of the 2d Battalion, 128th
Infantry, made contact with the Warren Force on the 31st; on ,
January the 1St Battalion, I27th Infantry, could see our tanks in the
vicinity of Giropa Point. All through the afternoon of the 1St,
patrols in the neighborhood of Siwori Village kept reporting Japa-
nese swimming from the Mission toward Tarakena.
On the morning of 2 January, the Urbana Force shifted its pressure
to the corridor which it had forced through to the sea between Giropa
Point and the Mission. G Company, I27th Infantry, under Capt.
William Dames, swept forward on a Iso-yard front in a final push
up the coast. Many of the enemy attempted to escape an inevitable
doom by taking to the sea, some swimming, others paddling small
boats, rafts, and logs. These fugitives were machine-gunned by our
coastal patrols and strafed by our planes. Meanwhile, the remaining
Japanese were driven slowly up the coast through the desolate wreck
of Buna Mission. The commander of the 1St Battalion, Maj.
Schroeder, was mortally wounded, but the advance continued. By
'550, H Company had crossed from the island and was moving north-
east; at 1600 G Company had reached the point of the Mission.
Organized resistance was over. After 45 days of fighting, Buna Mis-
sion was ours. The Japanese force at Buna had been destroyed.
Of the original 2,200 men, 1'<\50 were captured or buried by our
troops. Man y others were buried by their comrades in the COurse of
the battle. A few escaped into the jungle, where they starved or were
hunted down. Still fewer succeeded in swimming to Sanananda,
where they shared the fate of its defenders.

"' .:
Buna Mission afur Bailie.
Dead near Btlna Mission, 1 Jan.t/ary.
Background of the Sanananda
WHILE the right wing of the Allied force il) Papua was carry-
ing out the Buna operation, the left wing was attacking Japanese
positions defending Sanananda, a few miles west of the Girua River.
From these two bases the enemy had started his advance against Port
Moresby along trails which converged at Soputa. The Allied counter-
offensive was compelled by lack of good lateral communications in
the waterlogged coastal plain to follow these same trails and was
consequently split into two separate and parallel operations.
The bulk of the troops employed against Buna were American; the
majority of those in the Sanananda zone were Australian, but Amer-
ican troops played a part out of proportion to their relatively small
numbers. From the start of the operation, elements of the U. S.
126th Infantry were attached to the Australian 7th Division, which
was under Maj. Gen. George A. Vasey, Allied Commander on this
front. At the end of December the 163d Infantry of the U. S. 41st
Division began to arrive from Port Moresby. After the fall of Buna,
units of the U. S. 127th Infantry moved up the coast to the Sanananda
front, while the tanks and the Australian 18th Infantry Brigade came
by way of Ango Corner. The present account sketches only those
general outlines of the Sanananda operation which are required for
an understanding of American participation.
Japanese defenses west of the Girua River were in many ways
stronger than those at Buna. They constituted a deep beachhead,
roughly triangular in shape, protecting Sanananda harbor. The apex
of this triangle was 3Yz miles inland on the Soputa-Sanananda Road,
the one good line of approach, and its base was anchored on strong-
points covering the coastal trail between Cape Killerton to the west
and Tarakena to the east. Gona was a flank position to the north-
west of the main stronghold and could be reached from Soputa by a
trail west of the road.
A group of mutually supporting positions at the apex on the Sop uta-
Sanananda Road covered the junction with the road of a branch trail
to Cape Killerton. A half mile to the north was another group of
positions where a second trail branched off toward Cape Killerton,
and a half mile still further north was a third group of positions.
Each defensive position consisted of a single ring of bunkers similar
to those found at Buna, connected by fire and communication trenches
and thus constituting a perimeter. Many of these perimeters were
flanked by swamps and all were well concealed in the dense jungle.
Within the fortified area were concentrated some 3,000 survivors of
the unsuccessful attack on Port Moresby, together with reinforce-
ments which arrived by sea. Two of these units which had been deci-
mated in the retreat across the Owen Stanley Mountains could be
identified only tentatively: the Kusonose Butai and the Yokoyama
Engineers. A third was definitely established as the Yasawa Butai.
It consisted of 3 battalions of the 41st Infantry; the 1st Battalion was
stationed at Gona, while the 2d and 3d were on the Soputa-Sanananda
Road near its junction with the Killerton trail. On 20 November
about half of the enemy troops were in positions along the road north
of Soputa while the rest were on the coast.
Reinforcements arrived during the first 2 weeks of December. A
detachment of the Yamagata Brigade, numbering less than 1,000
and consisting of the Brigade Headquarters, the 3d Battalion of the
170th Infantry, and I battery of mountain artillery, landed north of
Gona during the night of 1-2 December. A second detachment of
the same brigade, also less than 1,000 in number, landed near the
mouth of the Mambare River on the night of 12-13 December. The
total enemy strength in the Sanananda area was therefore between
four and five thousand, at least twice the strength of the Buna
The Sanananda operation was conducted at first by the Australian
units which had pushed the Japanese back across the Owen Stanley
Mountains. But these units were too exhausted and too few to crack
the strong defensive position of the enemy. Even after reinforcement
by fresh Australian and American units, the attack was stalemated
until the fall of Buna permitted the transfer of further Allied forces
to the Sanananda front early in January. Thereafter the attack was
pressed with unremitting intensity until the last japanese pocket fell
on 22 january '943.
As the 16th Brigade of the Australian 6th Division and 25th Brigade
of the Australian 7th Division came down to the southeastern coastal
plain of New Guinea, they could look back on a series of uninter-
rupted victories since pushing the enemy out of Ioribaiwa on 28
September. Kokoda had fallen on 3 November; after a stand in
front of Oivi, the japanese had retreated without offering further
battle. The Australians had pushed on toward the sea. On 19
November they made contact in Popondetta with an American patrol
from the I26th Infantry, and patrols of the 25th Brigade entered
Gona. These patrols were forced out of Gona by a japanese counter-
attack before the main body of the brigade could come up.
On the same day the U. S. I26th Infantry under Col. Clarence M.
Tomlinson was attached to the 7th Division to operate west of the
Girua River. The 2d Battalion reverted to the control of the 32d
Division on 22 November and fought with the Urbana Force, but
the 3d Battalion and part of the 1st Battalion (C Company less one
platoon, and all of D Company) remained on the Sanananda front
until 9 January. The Cannon and Antitank Companies of the regi-
ment, which had been in the vicinity of J uare, joined the Sanananda
forces on 29 November.
The Road Block (22 November-9
(Map No.6, page 66)
A general attack was launched on 22 November. The Australian
25th Brigade moved against Gona on the west; the ,6th Brigade
attacked along the Soputa-Sanananda Road; the 3d Battalion, 126th
Infantry, attacked on both Aanks of the 16th Brigade to envelop the
enemy. The frontal attacks of the 25th and 16th Brigades were un-
successful, but on the Soputa road I and K Companies, 126th Infantry,
.... l
v, .
==== [ N( ",Y DEn:Ns t LI N[ __ __ TlI"'L
managed to work part way around the enemy left flank, east of
the road. During the next week they continued this envelopment,
Jnd the Cannon and Antitank Companies joined them. On 30
November, I Company under Capt. John D. Shirley and the Anti-
tank Company under Capt. Meredith M. Huggins pressed on until
they were astride the Sop uta road in the rear of the enemy forward
position, which was at the junction with the first branch trail to
Cape Killerton.
At this point the American units established a road block to prevent
use of the road to supply the enemy front. Operations of the next 3
weeks on the Sanananda front consisted essentiall y of the maintenance
of this road block against desperate counterattacks from all sides.
Sometimes enemy soldiers carne so close to our trenches that our
men could grab them by the ankles and pull them in, but they never
broke through the block. Though K Company and the Cannon
Company remained on the east flank through most of the period in
order to maintain the supply line to the road block, it was often
impossible to push supplies and ammunition through. Communi-
cations also were frequently interrupted. Day after day the dwin-
dling survivors holding the road block had to spend all their daylight
hours crouched in fox holes. Capt. Shirley was killed on 2 December.
Capt. Huggins was wounded on the Stll but could not be evacuated
until the 8th, when Lt. Peter L. Dal Ponte took command.
Against these odds, I Company and the Antitank Company held
on until 22 December, when they were relieved by the Australian
39th Infantry Battalion (30th Brigade). They then joined other
clements of the 126th Infantry on the main Sanananda front, south
of ti,e road block. Exhausted by the long period under constant
fire, these units of the 126th Infantry were finally withdrawn on 9
January and rejoined the remainder of the regiment at Buna.
The Capture of Sanananda (4-23
While the 126th Infantry had been holding the road block, the
Australian 21st infantry Brigade had come by air to Popondetta and
reinforced the 2Sth Brigade on 28 November for a drive on Gona.
They smashed tllfough the desperate defense and captured Gona
on 9 December. The Australians found that ti,e last survivors of the
enemy had fought with ti,e dead bodies of their comrades decom-
posing about them. They buried 638 Japanese dead.
Fresh American troops also were arriving from Port Moresby.
The I63d Infantry of the U. S. 41st Division under Col. (ldter Brig.
Gen.) Jens A. Doe began to move by air to Popondetta and Dobodura
on 30 December. The regiment was attached to the Australian 7th
Division and assigned to ti,e road-block positions. The 1st Battalion
marched via Sop uta to take over ti,e positions of ti,e Australian 39th
Infantry Battalion from 2-4 January.
Moreover, operations at Buna were drawing to a close, permitting
a shift of Allied strength. The I27th infantry, operating on the
western flank of the Buna front, had established an outpost in Tara-
kena Village, but on 4 January a Japanese attack drove it out. Next
day the 1st and 2d Battalions counterattacked from Siwori Village.
E Company, in the lead, advanced along a sandspit which lay just
off the shore and directed enfilading canister fire from a 37-mm gun
against tbe enemy on the mainland, who were slowly pushed west-
ward through dense jungle by C and G Companies. These com-
panies recaptured Tarakena on the 8th, and on the following day
reached tbe bank of the rain-swollen Konombi Creek.
..... 1.Il1) .. _Hl'H(
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o SIWf't.T"""
Meanwhile, X Squadron, Australian 2/6 Armored Regiment, and
the 18th Brigade were moving from Buna to the Sanananda front via
Ango Corner. The 18th Brigade relieved the 30th Brigade and the
units of the 126th Infantry on 9 January in the front line on the
Soputa road. The Japanese at Sanananda could feel the net closing
around them.
(Sketch NO.4. page 68)
With additional forces on hand, we could at last hope to break
the long stalemate and sweep the enemy out of the Buna-Sanananda
area. The Japanese position "P" at the junction of the trail to Cape
Killenon with the Soputa-Sanananda Road had thus far held up our
advance, but our maintenance of a road block to the north forced the
enemy to rely on the roundabout and difficult Killerton trail for
supply of his front. The whole situation along the road was quite
extraordinary. Our original road block, about half a mile north of
the enemy advanced position, was organjzed for all-around defense
and called Perimeter "Huggins," after Capt. Meredith M. Huggins
of I Company, I26th Infantry. Immediately north of Huggins was
a second Japanese defensive position, and just beyond this a second
Alhed road block later called "Fisk," after Lt. Harold R. Fisk of
the 163d. Less than a quarter mile farther north was a third group
of enemy defenses. Our supply line to the road blocks ran through
dense jungle east of the road and had to be patrolled constantly. At
three points along it we maintained small defensive positions.
Perimeter Huggins was on relatively dry, jungle-covered ground,
some 4 feet above the swamps on either side. An outer ring of
rifle and automatic weapon positions extended about 250 yards from
north to south and ISO from east to west. Each position was about
15 yards from its neighbors and consisted of fox holes for a squad.
The fox holes were arranged in square or circular patterns. Between
this and the inner or support perimeter were small supply dumps,
kitchens, and lower headquarters. The inner perimeter, similar in
plan to the outer, contained higher headquarters, switchboard, 81-mm
mortars, ammunitjon dump, and aid station. Slit trenches were
everywhere and the whole area was often densely crowded, especially
when troops were in transit to other points.
Our other road blocks were, like Huggins, perimeters organized
for all-around defense. When the 163d took over Perimeter Huggins
from the Australian 39th and 49th Infantry Battalions and the Aus-
tralian 2/ 7 Cavalry, japanese tree snipers were very troublesome but
were soon thinned out and forced back by harassing mortar lire, by
special antisniper patrols, and by our own tree snipers. At night our
men were not permitted to move from their slit trenches and those in
the front line used hand grenades against suspicious noises. Huggins
was our main position and headquarters of the regiment. Fisk con-
sisted of two smaller perimeters, one on each side of the road. The
enemy used no artillery or planes and his defenses were in such dense
jungle that fear of casualties among his own men from tree bursts
prevented effective use of his 4o-mm mortars. Consequently, we had
to deal only with small-arms lire and grenades.
The japanese defenses consisted of groups of bunkers arranged
about 5 yards apart in circular or oval patterns on both sides of the
road.' Automatic weapons were sited to lire 6 to 8 inches above the
ground and along lire lanes so carefully cleared that little disturbance
of the jungle was apparent. Around the perimeters were trip wires
and vines attached to warning rattles. Enemy patrols and snipers
were active on all sides. During the 7 weeks of stalemate preceding
the arrival of the r63d Regiment, American and Australian patrols
had discovered that there were several japanese defensive positions
along the Soputa-Sanananda Road, but no clear understanding of
their nature or extent had been gained.
Between 4 and 7 january, patrols found that just north of Huggins
there were two enemy perimeters: "Q" on the west and uR" on the
cast of the road. At noon on the 8th, after a I5-minute preparation
by artillery, mortars, and machine guns, Band C Companies attacked
Perimeter "R." C Company attacked southward from the supply
trail leading to Fisk but was stopped in front of "R" by a swamp which
was more than waist deep as the result of heavy rain during the pre-
ceding night. B Company advanced northward from Huggins but
had made only some 20 yards when it came under heavy cross lire.
Here it dug in, about half way between Huggins and "R."
.. A typical perimeter. known as "Q," which was on the west side of the road between
Huggins and Fisk, is illustrated in Sketch NO.5. p. 71.
... . .... I
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! I CONNttTW(; TltENCH£.5
The 2d Battalion had now come up and was bivouacked on the sup-
ply trail south of Huggins (Map NO. 7, below). On the morning of
the 9th, it was sent through Huggins a half mile due west to the
Killerton trail, where it established under fire a road block cutting the
enemy supply line to his advanced positions. This road block was
called Perimeter "Rankin," after Capt. Pinkney R. Rankin of the r63d.
The 2d Battalion's move was the first phase of a divisional plan of
attack which was to employ both the r63d Regiment and the Austral-
ian r8th Brigade, now ready to advance. This plan directed the r63d
to hold both possible lines of enemy retreat while the r8th Brigade
was breaking through the southernmost Japanese defenses at "P."
The r8th Brigade was then to drive up the Kill erton trail to the sea
and swing eastward along the coast to envelop the entire Sanananda
defensive position. The r63d was at the same time to reduce the
remaining enemy defenses along the Soputa-Sanananda Road.
~ [N[M" OEI'[N5£ LIN[
~ ALUII:D ..... '''OACH UNE ----- TI'.AIL
MAP No.7
g JANUARY---22 JANUARY 1114.3

. "

Meanwhile, in the coastal area, the steady advance of the 1st Bat-
talion of the 127th had been held up for a day by the Konombi Creek.
In the early hours of the roth, assault boats used in an attempted
crossing had been swept out ro sea by the swift current. That after-
noon five men of C Company swam across the stream under enemy
fire and rigged a guy wire which enabled the rest of the company,
followed by A and B Companies, to cross in boats. By sundown, a
bridgehead 200 yards deep had been established. The part of the
127th in the general plan of attack was to press northward through
Giruwa Village and establish contact with the 18th Brigade.
During the next 3 days patrols from Huggins were active. On
the 10th Perimeter "Q" was discovered to have been evacuated and
was at once occupied by A Company, which sent out tree snipers
and patrols to harass the enemy and feel out the contour of Perimeter
"R," now open to attack from all sides. The 3d Battalion of the 163d
was corning up along the supply traiL The Japanese could be heard
and sometimes seen at work strengthening "R."
The 18th Brigade attacked north ward on both sides of the road
against "P" on 12 January, with the 163d providing diversions in the
form of mortar fire directed agai.nst "R" and against enemy defenses
on the Killerton trail south of Rankin. The Australians, aided by
four light tanks, jumped off at 0800 after IS minutes of concentrated
artillery preparation. K Company of the 163d, operating southward
from Huggins, covered the Australians' right Rank. By noon it was
evident that the attack had failed. Three of the four tanks, which at-
tacked along the road, were out of action. One struck a land mine,
one was stopped by two hits from an enemy 6-pounder gun, and the
third bogged down when it turned off the road. During the after-
noon, patrols from Huggins were sent at the request of the Australians
to determine how far north the Japanese position extended.
Soon after daybreak on the 14th, a patrol of the 163d picked up a
very sick enemy soldier in the bushes along the road just south of
Huggins. Hustled to Australian 7th Division Headquarters for in-
terrogation, the prisoner revealed that orders had been received on the
night of the 12th- 13th for able-bodied troops to evacuate "P," the
southermost Japanese position, leaving behind the sick and wounded.
He had tried to follow, but was so weakened by malaria and dysentery
that he could not keep up.
Acting on this information, the division ordered the 163d to send
all available units southward to block escape routes but not to attack.
K Company had remained just east of the road since the 12th, and
B Company was sent from Huggins down the west side. These 2
companies moved south astride the road, and on the Killerton trail
E and G Companies, after 100 rounds from the artillery and 200
from their 81-mm mortars, also moved southward. Nearly 100 Japa-
nese were killed by this bombardment and by the infantry when it
followed up. Meanwhile, the 18th Brigade renewed its attack and
completely broke enemy resistance south of Huggins. For more than
a mile north of its junction with the Soputa-Sanananda Road the
Killerton trail was open. The first phase of the divisional plan of
attack was now completed.
At 0730 on the morning of the 15th, a platoon of A Company,
attacking from "Q," managed to get inside Perimeter "R" from the
north without being detected. The rest of the company was at once
pushed in. C Company, operating from Fisk, sent a platoon to press
from the east. B, E, G, and K Companies were now released by the
7th Division from their southward movement and B was sent to the
west side of "R" to complete the encirclement. Bunker after bunker
was taken in attacks by small groups of our men using grenades,
rifles, and submachine guns, but the entire perimeter was not captured
until the following day. Shortly before noon, General Vasey came to
Huggins and explained the plan for a second phase of the attack
to begin next day.
The 18th Brigade, leaving the remnant of the enemy sOllth of Hug-
gins to be mopped up by reserve elements, was to move up the Killer-
ton trail through the 2d Battalion of the 163d and carry out the
envelopment of Sanananda. The 2d Battalion of the 163d was to
cooperate by moving north from Rankin about IY, miles along the
Killerton trail to the Coconut Garden, where a branch trail connect-
ing with the Soputa-Sanananda Road was believed to come in. After
the Australian advance, the battalion would follow the branch trail
east to the road, taking in the rear the enemy positions north of
Huggins. The 3d Battalion, operating from Huggins and Fisk, was
scheduled to complete the reduction of Perimeter "R." The 1st Bat-
talion was to attack west of the road, enveloping Japanese positions
known to be located north of Fisk. Two troops of Australian 25-
pounders and two tanks were assigned to support the regiment and
fifteen 81-mm mortars were massed in Huggins.
The units of the 127th Infantry which were advancing from Tara-
kena had meanwhile expanded their bridgehead north of the Ko-
5anananda Point.
nombi Creek. On 12 January patrols had got 700 yards beyond the
creek, passing a string of apparently abandoned bunkers. These
bunkers lay just inland from the beach and were scattered through
an area about ISO yards in depth. On their return our patrols found
that the enemy had reoccupied his bunkers. The patrols were with-
drawn and C Company attacked, supported by artillery and mortar
fire and a 37-mm gun using canister. Three of the bunkers were
taken that afternoon. Active patrolling continued until the 16th,
when the 127th was ordered to attack as part of the general plan of
the 7th Division.
In preparation for the attack on the Soputa-Sanananoa Road, A, B,
and C Companies of the 163d, which had been squeezing "R," were
relieved late in the afternoon on the 15th by I, K, and L Companies.
During the night of the 15th-r6th, the enemy north of Huggins was
harassed by artillery fire. Then from 0845 until the at CJ9OO,
the artillery and mortars provided a heavy preparation while machine
guns combed the trees and brush to the northwest of Fisk, where
A, B, and C Companies were to advance around the right Rank of the
enemy positions and effect a junction with the 2d Battalion on the
road. Soon after the, A Company on the right was pinned
down by machine-gun fire from a Japanese perimeter at "S," but C
Company, on the left, followed by B Company, met almost no oppo-
sition as it swung around to the road. Here at "AD" a perimeter
bivouac was established. Company A, which had 20 heat-exhaustion
casualties, was then withdrawn and sent to join B and C in the new
perimeter. The two tanks, held in r e s e ~ v e for an emergency, were
not used.
Meanwhile, the Australian 18th Brigade had advanced up the Kill-
erton trail through the 2d Battalion of the r63d, which was now on
its way eastward from the Coconut Garden toward the road. After
some 800 yards, the trail foll owed by the 2d Battalion petered out and
the troops began chopping their way through the jungle on a compass
course aimed at the 1st Battalion objective. F and G Companies came
out on the road just south of "AD" and were guided into the bivouac
by a patrol from B Company. Part of H Company was left near the
Coconut Garden to guard a trail junction, but the rest of the battalion
chopped its way eastward to the road a mile north of "AD," where it
made contact with patrols of the 18th Brigade's 2/ I2 Battalion, which
had moved eastward from Cape Killerton along trails roughly parallel
to the coast. The 2d Battalion had encountered numerous small
partie, of the enemy and killed over a hundred.
K and L Companies, operating northward from Huggins, had
been squeezing "R," and in the early afternoon of the r6th mopped
up this perimeter, from which most of the defenders had slipped
out during the preceding night. Since the Australians had also
cleared up the strongpoint at "P," all resistance south of Fisk was now
liquidated. To the north. the attack was making rapid progress.
By evening of 16 january, the 18th Brigade, carrying out its wide
envelopment, had pushed the 2/ 9 Battalion into the Sana nand a perim-
eter. The 2/ro Battalion was left to face a stubborn enemy group
on the coast west of the bay, while the 2/12 Battalion, advancing on
the right Hank, was on the road about a mile from the coast and
in contact with the 2d Battalion of the 163d. On the coast, the ISt
Battalion of the 127th attacked at 0800, following a rolling artillery
and mortar barrage, but despite reinforcements from the 2d Battalion,
made no progress in the face of effective enemy machine-gun fire.
Pressure against this Hank of the Japanese position was being main-
tained, to the obvious advantage of our operations elsewhere on the
Sanananda front .
Any plan which the enemy might have had of an orderly with-
drawal along the road to the beach at Sanananda had been foiled.
His remaining forces were split up and under heavy pressure, short
of ammunition and starving. The second phase of our attack had
come to a successful end. The enemy himself realized that his few
isolated strongpoints would soon be liquidated. During the night
of 16-17 january, the higher Japanese officers removed their wounded
from barges in which they set off to seek safety for themselves.
The exact nature of the remaining enemy defenses on the Sop uta-
Sanananda Road was not yet known, but a considerable force was
believed to be between Fisk and Perimeter "AD." On the 17th, B
Company probed southward from "AD" until it was stopped by fire
from bunkers at "S." On the following day, C Company pushed
forward east of B Company to envelop "S" but was stopped by fire
from both flanks. Then A and K Companies extended the envelop-
ment still further eastward but ran into another enemy perimeter
at "T." F Company, ordered to join the attack on "T," advanced
down the road from the north, disposing of 54 japanese before it was
held up by machine-gun fire from the northeastern end of Perimeter
"T." About noon the enemy, caught between our ISt and 3d Bat-
talions, showed their nervousness by opening fire on Fisk without
being attacked.
Probing of the enemy defenses continued on the 19th, when a
platoon of I Company, circling east and north from Fisk, ran into
a japanese perimeter at "U." F Company had by this time bypassed
"T" and fought its way southward along the road to the north side
of Perimeter "U." Reconnaissance in force had now explored the
ground between our two main positions, and the general outlines
of the three main enemy perimeters were known. Preparations were
made for an attack on the 20th, intended to overrun the three perim-
eters from south to north, beginning with "U." just after noon, the
25-pounders fired 250 rounds on the target area while the mortars
in Huggins fired 750 rounds, and the machine guns of M Company
from Fisk combed the trees and brush. just as this preparation ended
and I Company was poised to rush forward from the south, a mortar
short killed Capt. Duncan V. Dupree and 1st Sgt. james W. Boland,
while a sniper got one of the platoon leaders. The company hesitated
for a moment, then went in to attack, but the effect of the bombard-
ment was lost. The enemy had slipped out of his bunkers into firing
positions and our attack was stopped.
Next morning at 1035, A and K Companies followed closely a
perfectly timed concentration of artillery, mortar, and machine-gun
fire into Perimeter "T," breaching the defenses and fanning out inside.
This softened the resistance in front of Band C Companies which
were facing "S," and all 4 companies were able to sweep south to
the road by H20, mopping up both "s" and "T." Our shell fire
killed many japanese and kept the rest inside their bunkers until our
infantry were close enough to throw grenades into the firing slits
and entrances or shoot down survivors as they crawled out like rats
from a hole. After this attack 525 enemy dead were counted. Many
showed evidence of starvation and disease. Outposts were placed
along the road and most of our troops returned to Perimeter "AD"
for supplies and rest.
just before daybreak on the 22d, 31 japanese, the remnant of 500
fresh troops landed 10 days earlier near Giruwa, were killed in front
K Company's bivouac on the road. A lone prisoner reported that
some 200 of this outfit had been lost through battle casualties near
Sanananda and through disease; a group sent to reinforce the defend-
ers of the road positions had arrived too late; he and his companions
had been trying to escape westward.
At 1047, I and L Companies attacked "U" from the south, moving
in with the last mortar salvo of a heavy bombardment. They found
the resistance weak and by 1300 made contact with E Company,
which had replaced F Company on the east side of the perimeter.
We had 1 man killed and 1 wounded, whereas 6!J Japanese were
killed by our infantry and many more by our artillery and mortars.
Enemy fleeing northward were picked off by our patrols, and general
mopping-up continued through the 23d.
The 18th Brigade had meanwhile reduced 2 Japanese perimeters
on the coast between Kill erton and Sanananda and 2 more at the
north end of the road. The 127th Infantry had been making steady
progress toward Giruwa. On the 18th it gained 300 yards along the
beach, but had trouble clearing the enemy out of swampy jungle on
its left. There the terrain prevented use of the 37-mm gun against
bunkers, so .5o-cal. machine guns were used with good effect. Pres-
sure was kept up, and by 1630 on the 20th we were within 300 yards
of Giruwa Village. Next morning the advance continued against
rapidly weakening opposition and the Village was taken by noon.
Just beyond it, contact was established with the Australians. Early
• ">- ~
A Fo:r H o / ~ on GWtll/JO Beoch.
Men of the 127th Infant ry holding a position (cached on 20 January.

in the afternoon a large Japanese hospital area was discovered 300
yards inland. Prisoners stated that some 2,000 casualties of the retreat
over the Owen Stanley Mountains had been there late in Novem-
ber, but all save 200 had died from lack of medical care or from
On 22 January, the 127th completed the mopping-up. By that
evening 46 prisoners had been evacuated to Buna; a total of ~ were
taken in the Giruwa area. The Japanese defenders of Sanananda,
like those at Buna, had been destroyed. The Buna-Sanananda
operation was ended.
T HE BUNA-SANANANDA operation may seem a small show
when judged by the standard of operations in other theaters. The
Allied forces which took part were the Australian 7th Division, rein-
forced by two brigades, the U. S. 32d, and a regiment of the 41St.
They fought on the defense to remove the threat of enem y land
attack on Port Moresby. They killed over 5,000 japanese soldiers
and marines, the total enemy force in the area of operations. But
this is not the whole story. The men who fought in the stinking
swamps of Papua have special grounds for pride in their victory.
They met the enemy in positions which he had chosen deliberately
and fortified cunningly, and they crusbed him. Their victory, like
the victory on Guadalcanal, proved that the japanese could be beaten
in jungle fighting and that the vaunted japanese morale could crack.
Though the Buna-Sanananda operation was defensive in the larger
sense, it was nevertheless a tactical offensive and a fitting prelude to
the Allied offensive of 1943 in the Southwest Pacific.
Our troops fought the enemy, and they fought the jungle. They
learned the bitter lessons of jungle warfare. Each day the heat, the
humidity, and the diseases of the jungle sapped the strength of those
who did not fall, killed or wounded. As one example, the units of the
126th Infantry which went into the action on the Sanananda front
had 1,199 men and officers; when these same units were relieved on
9 January 1943, only 165 men and officers carne out of the lines.
They had fought their way foot by foot through tangled swamp and
kunai grass around the Japanese position; for 3 long weeks they had
held their road block despite incessant attacks from the strong enemy
forces which they kept apart. Of these and of all the men in the
Buna-Sanananda operation, it can be said, "They accomplished their
Annex No.1
Comparative Table of Strength and Casualties- Buna-Sanananda Operation
Regimental combat teams Strength entering
combat zone
Killed in action Other deaths
Wounded in action Sick in acrian
Total casualties
32d Division:
26 September 1942-28 F,bruary 1943
126th Infantry ..... . ..•...
3,791 266
127th Infantry ............
2,734 182
561 I
128th Infantry ... . ..• . ....
557 2,238
41st Division:
2- 23 January 1943
163d Infantry ............
584 92
( Plus estimated strength) ...
300 3,820
Total . ....... ....... '1
116 ..
2,172 7,920
Annex NO.2
(Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Legioll of Merit, Silver
Star, alld Oak Leaf Cluster ollly)
The following list of decorations is based on the best records avail-
able to date but is not necessarily complete. The list is arranged
alphabetically by name, showing rank, arm or service, residence, or-
ganization, station, and date of citation. Posthumous awards are
indicated by an asterisk (.).
Medal of Honor
1ST SGT. ELMER J. BURR,· lnf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 24
December '942.
SGT. KENNETH E. GRUENNERT," Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna,
24 December '94
Distinguished Service Cross
LT. CoL. BERNARD G. BAETCKE, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Sana-
nanda, 30 November '942.
CAPT. CLADIE A. BAILEY, Inf., Indiana, 32d Division, Buna, 2 Decem-
ber '942.
L-r. CoL. CHESTER M. BEAVER, GSC, South Dakota, 32d Division, Buna,
5 December '942·
CAPT. WILLIAM F. BoICE,· Inf., Indiana, 32d Division, Buna, '9 De-
cember '942.
CAPT. HERMAN J. F. BOTTCHER, Inf., California, 32d Division, Buna,
5-11 December '942.
CoL. JOSEPH S. BRADLEY, GSC, South Carolina, 32d Division, Buna.
28 December '942-
CoL. JOHN J. CAREW, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
,6 November '942.
1ST LT. JAMES T. CoKER, Inf., Oklahoma, 32d Division, Tarakena, 8
January '943.
1ST LT. JOHN W. CROW,. In£., Texas, yd Division, Buna, '!r20
November '942.
CAPT. PETER L. DAL PONTE, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Sanananda,
9 December 1942.
CoL. GEORGE DE GRAAF, QMC, Texas, I Corps, Buna, 5 December
BRIG. GEN. JENS A. DOE, USA, California, 41St Division, Sanananda,
21-22 January '943·
20 LT. JAMES D. DOUGHTIE, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna,
23 December '942.
1ST LT. JAMES G. DoWNER,. Inf., Kentucky, 32d Division, Buna, 9
December '942.
MAJ. DANIEL K. EDWARDS, Inf., North Carolina, I Corps, Buna, 5
December '942.
CAPT. POWELL A. FRASER, Inf., Georgia, 32d Division, Tarakena, II
January 1943-
20 LT. TALLY D. FULMER, Inf., South Carolina, 32d Division, Buna,
3' December '942- 11 January 1943·
MAJ. MILLARD G. GRAY, Inf., Indiana, I Corps, Buna, 25 December
1942-1 January 1943.
CoL. JOHN E. GROSE, Inf., West Virginia, I Corps, Buna, 2 January
CAPT. HAROLD E. HANTLEMANN, Inf., Iowa, 32d Division, Buna, 1-3
December '942.
1ST LT. JOHN E. HARBERT, Ord., Michigan, 32d Division, Cape Sud est,
16 November '942.
LT. COL. MERLE H. HOWE, GSC, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 5
December '942.
CAPT. MEREDITH M. H UGGINS, Inf., Oregon, 32d Division, Sanananda,
1 December '942.
1ST LT. JAMES 1. HUNT, Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, GHQ, SWPA, 2-5
December '942.
1ST LT. JOHN R. JACOBUCCI, Inf., Wyoming, 4'st Division, Soputa, 21
January '943·
1ST LT. THOMAS E. KNODE, Inf., North Dakota, 32d Division, Buna,
5 December 1942·
20 LT. PAUL R. LUTJENS, Inf., Mi chigan, 32d Division, Buna, 5 Decem-
ber '942.
LT. COL. ALEXANDER). MACNAB, In f., Vermont, 32d Division, Buna.
10 December 1942-3 January 1943.
CAPT. ROBERT P. MCCAMPBELL, Inf., Nebraska, 32d Division, Buna, 27
December 1942.
LT. COL. MELVIN L. MCCREARY, FA, Ohio, 32d Division, Buna, 24
December '942.
COL. WILLIAM V. MCCREIGHT, GSC, Wisconsin, Hq U. S. Forces Buna,
New Guinea, 1 December 1942-25 January 1943.
BRIG. GEN. CLARENCE A. MARTIN, GSC, South Carolina, 32d Division,
Buna, 3 December 1942-5 January 1943.
2D LT. FRED W. MATZ, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 24 Decem-
ber 1942.
1ST LT. ERWIN J. NUMMER, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 30
Noveinber '942.
1ST LT. HERBERT G. PEABODY, Inf. , Vermont, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
16 November 1942.
LT. CoL. WALTER R. RANKIN, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Sanananda,
14 January 1943·
COL. GORDON B. ROCERS, GSC, California, I Corps, Buna, 5 December
CAPT. DONALD F. RUNNOE, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 2 Janu-
ary 1943.
MAJ. EDMUND R. SCHROEDER,* In£., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 27
December 1942.
2D LT. PAUL L. SCHWARTZ, Inf., New York, 32d Division, Buna, 5
December 1942.
LT. CoL. HERBERT M. SMITH, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 7
December 1942.
2D LT. JOHN E. SWEET, Jr., Inf., Pennsylvania, 32d Division, Buna, 26
December 1942.
BRIG. GEN. ALBERT W. WALDRON, In£., New York, 32d Division, Buna,
5 December 194
LT. COL. SIMON W ARMENHOVEN,* MC, Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa
26 November '942.
CAPT. JAMES W. WORKMAN,· Inf., Texas, 32d Division, Buna, 24
December 1942.
LT. CoL. Roy F. ZINSER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 16 De-
cember 1942.
PFC. WALTER A. BAJDEK, Inf., Micrugan, 32d Division, Buna, 10 De-
cem ber 1942.
PFC. WILLIAM BALZA, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 25 Decem-
ber 1942.
PFC. HERMAN BENDER,· Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 31 De-
cember 1942.
PVT. JACK M. BINNS,· Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Cape Endaiadere,
26 November 1942-11 December 1942.
PVT. ROBERT H. CAMPBELL, Inf., Iowa, 32d Division, Buna, 17 Decem-
ber 1942-1 January 1943.
Sj SGr. CARL J. CHERNEY,· Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 20-21
November 1942.
PVT. JOHN E. CoMBS, Inf., Tennessee, 32d Division, GHQ, SWPA,
I December 1942.
PFC. JACK K. CUNNINGHAM, Inf., Texas, 32d Division, Tarakena, II
January 1943.
Sj SGT. DELMAR H. DANIELS,· Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna,
I December 1942.
TEC. 5 EDWIN C. DE ROSIER,· MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 19
November 1942.
PVT. HOWARD M. EASTWOOD" Inf., Oklahoma, 32d Division, Buna, 26
November 1942.
PVT. GORDON W. EoFF, Inf., Arkansas, 32d Division, Buna, 25 Decem-
ber 1942.
PVT. BERNADINO Y. ESTRADA," Inf., Arizona, 32d Division, Buna, 16
December 1942.
SGr. WILLIAM F. FALE,. Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 25 De-
cember 1942.
PFC. ALBERT L. FISHER, Inf., Indiana, 32d Division, Buna, 24 December
SGT. CHESTER C. FUNK, Inf., Washington, 32d Division, Sanananda,
23-24 December 1942·
PVT. HAROLD E. GRABER,. In£., Tennessee, 32d Division, GHQ, SWPA,
5 December 1942.
TEC. 5 CHARLES H. GRAY, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna, 28
December 1942.
PVT. ELMER R. HANGARTNER, In£., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 28
December 1942.
PVT. EARL W. JOHNSON,· Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, Buna, 23-31 Decem-
ber 1942.
PVT. MARO P. JOHNSON, QMC, Illinois, 100th Quartermaster Battalion,
Cape Sudest, ,6 November '942.
PVT. RAYMOND R. JUDD, Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, Tarakena, 12 January
Scr. BoYD 1. LINCOLN,· Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, GHQ, SWPA,
30 November 1942.
S/ Scr. JOHN R. MACGOWAN, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, GHQ,
SWP A, 16 November 1942.
PVT. HOMER W. McALLISTER, QMC, South Carolina, 107th Quarter-
master Battalion, Cape Sudest, ,6 November 1942.
TEC. 5 BART T. McDONOUGH, CE, Massachusetts, 1I4th Engineer Bat-
talion, Buna, 28 December 1942.
Scr. ROBERT R. MCGEE, lnf., Michigan, 32d Division, Sanananda, 23-28
November 1942.
PVT. LAWRENCE B. MARION, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Hq.
USAFFE, 24 December 1942.
PVT. ARTHUR MELANSON, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna, 28
December 1942.
PFC. RAYMOND MILBY, Inf., Kentucky, 32d Division, Tarakena, 12
January 1943.
S/ Scr. MILAN J. MILJATOVICH, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna,
28 December 1942.
CPL. HAROLD 1. MITCHELL, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 7-9
December 1942.
PVT. EARL MITTLEBERGER,· Inf., Iowa, 32d Division, Buna, 28 De-
cember 1942.
S/ Sm:. JOHN 1. MOHL, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Sanananda, 19
January '943-
PVT. CLOYD G. MYERS, Inf. , Nebraska, 32d Division, Cape Sudest, 16
November 1942.
PVT. STEVE W. PARKS, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 20 De-
cember 1942.
PVT. HAROLD O. PEDERSON, Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, Sanananda, 24
December 1942.
PVT. MARVIN M. PETERSON, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Tarakena,
12 January 1943.
PFC. DONALD R. PRICE, QMC, Wisconsin, I07th Quartermaster Bat-
talion, Cape Sudest, 16 November 1942.
SJSm:. JOHN F. REHAK, Jr.," Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna,
20 December 1942.
CPL. DANfEL F. RINI,· Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, Buna, 16 Decem-
ber 1942.
PFC. EDWARD R. ROSSMAN, Inf., Indiana, 32d Division, Sanananda,
24 December 1942·
CPL. WILMER H. RUMMEL, Inf., Kansas, 41St Division, Sanananda,
19 January 1943·
SJSm:. HERMAN T. SHAW,· Inf., Texas, 32d Division, Buna, 25 De-
cember 1942-9 January 1943.
CPL. GORDON C. SNY1)ER, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, GHQ, SWPA,
16 November 1942.
PVT. LAWRENCE F. SPRAGUE, Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, Tarakena, I2
January 1943.
PVT. EDWARD G. SQUIRES, Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, Buna, 28 De-
cember 1942.
1ST SGT. REUBEN j. STEGER,· Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, GHQ,
SWPA, 21 November 1942.
CPL. ORRIN C. SUTTON, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Sanananda, 24
December 1942.
SJSm:. ROBERT THOMPSON, InL, New York, 32d Division, Tarakena, II
January 1943.
Sm:. FRANCIS J. VONDRACEK, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 24
December 1942.
Sm:. HOWARD J. WEISS, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, GHQ, SWPA,
16 November 1942.
Sm:. SAMUEL G. WINZENRIED, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 13
December 1942.
SJSm:. PAUL ZIEGELE, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Sanananda, 15
January 1943·
Legion at Merit
1ST LT. GLEN V. BLAKESLEE, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, New
Guinea, 16 November 1942-12 February 1943.
CAPT. HIRAM A. CARPENTER, Inf., West Virginia, 32d Division,
Soputa, 27 November 1942-II January 1943·
20 LT. LYLE E. HERSHEY. FD, Michigan, 32d Division, POrt Moresby,
'3 November '942-10 January '943·
MAJ. WESTON A. MCCoRMAC, FA, Washington, 4,st Division, Oro
Bay-Gona, 25 January '943·
CAPT. MARLYN E. MOHR, QMC, Wisconsin, 32d Division, Dobodura,
10 December '942-'4 January '943.
CAPT. W'LLlA" L. MORRIS, CE, Idaho, 4,st Division, Oro Ray-Dobo-
dura,27 January '943·
CAPT. WALTER H. SKIELVIG, FA, California, 4'St Division, New
Guinea,3 Januaty '943·
WOJG CHARLES A. BORCK, USA, Michigan, 32d Division, Port
Moresby, '3 November '942-20 January 1943·
WOJG OSCAR V. DO"KER, USA, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna-San-
ananda, 25 December 1942-28 January '943.
PVT. WILLIAM L. Foxx, QMC, Nonh Carolina, 32d Division, Dobo-
dura, 10 December '942-'4 January 1943.
Sj Scr. JOHN A. HARRIS, CE, Idaho, 4,st Division, Sanananda, 3-25
January '943.
SGT. ARTHUR MOLY"EC' , CE, Idaho, 4,st Division, New Guinea, 21
January '943.
SjSGT. BERNARD F. PERSELLS, QMC, Wisconsin, 32" Division, Dobo-
dura, 10 December 1942-14 January '943.
SjScr. DONALD R. REPPENHANGEN, In f., Michigan, 32d Division,
Soputa-Sanananda, 15 October 1942-,6 January 1943·
SGT. BOYD A. SLAt;GHTER, In£., Michigan, 32d Division, Port Moresby,
1 October '942-23 January '943.
1ST Scr. KENNETH J. SPRAGUE, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 12
November '942-19 January '943.
Mj SGT. HERBERT T. W.\RREN, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Sanananda,
6-31 January 1943.
Silver Star
1ST LT. RICHARD J. ADLER, In£., Illinois, 32d Division, Buna, 28 De-
cember '942.
1ST LT. JAMES A"Gus, JR., Inf., Illinois, 32d Division, Tarakena, 4-5
January '943
CAPT. BYRON A. A"J5TRO"G, Inf .. Momana, 41st Division, Sanananda
Point, 21 Januan' 1943.
LT. CoL. CHESTER M. BEAVER, GSC, South Dakota, 32d Division, Cape
Sudest, ,6 November '942.
CAPT. W,LLIAM C. BENSON, [nf., Montana, 4,st Division. Soputa, ,6
January '943·
CAPT. EDMUND C. BLOCH, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Giruwa, 19
January '943.
LT. CoL. R,CHARD D. BOEREM, [nf., Michigan. 32d Division, Soputa,
26 November '942.
MAJ. JOHN T. BOET, MC, Michigan, 32d Division. Bum, 5 December
MAJ. GEORGE C. BOND. Inf., Michigan, 32d Division. Soputa, 30
November '942.
CAPT. FRANK A. BRADBURV, [nf., Montana. 4,st Division. Soputa, 9
January '943.
COL. JOSEPH S. BRADLEV, GSC, South Carolina. 32d Division, Buna,
27 December 1942.
CAPT. W,LLIAM W. BRAGG,JR., [nf., West Virginia,)2<1 Division. Runa
Mission, 31 December '942.
'ST LT. NATHAN BROOKS, MC, Michigan, I Corps. Simemi. 7 Decem-
ber '942.
CAPT. JAMES M. BUCKLAND, Inf. , Montana. 41St Division. Soputa, 20
January '943.
MAJ. CHARLES R. BUXTON, Inf., Oregon, 4,st Division, Ambogo River-
Moratee River, 29 January '943.
'ST LT. Z,NA R. CARTER, Inf., Florida, 32d Division. Soputa-Sanananda,
14 December '942.
1ST LT. JAMES T. COKER, [nf., Oklahoma, 32d Division, BlIlla. 25 De-
cember '942.
CAPT. JEFFERSON R. CRONK, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division. Buna Mis-
sion, 31 December '942.
1ST LT. HERMAN E. DANIELS, [nf., Montana, 41St Division, Sop uta, 9
January '943.
LT. CoL. CHARLES R. DAWLEV, [nf., Montana. 4,st Division, Soputa,
16 January '943.
MAJ. LEMUEL E. DAv, MC, Illinois, I Corps. Simemi, 7 December
CAPT. M,CHAEL V. DEFINA, CE, Massachusetts, 32<1 Division, Simemi,
28 November '942.
20 LT. ROBERT A. DIx, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 24 Decem-
ber 1942.
CAPT. OLIVER O. DIXON, Inf., Indiana, pd Division, Buna, to Decem-
ber 1942.
LT. CoL. KENNETH C. DoWNING, Inf., Washington, 41st Division, Am-
bogo River-Moratee River, 28-29 January 1943·
CAPT. DUNCAN V. DUPREE,· Inf., Washington, 41st Division, Soputa,
21 January 1943.
CAPT. WILLIAM F. EDWARDS, MC, Indiana, I Corps, Simemi, 7 De-
cember 1942.
CAPT. CoNWAY L. ELLERS, In£., Montana, 41St Division, Hq USAFFE,
18-19 January 1943.
1ST LT. FRANCIS J. ENOL,· InL Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 14-17
December 1942.
LT. CoL. BENJAMIN R. FARRAR, In£., New Jersey, Hq U. S. Forces
Buna, Buna Mission, 22-23 December 1942.
20 LT. DONALD W. FEURY,· In£., Michigan, 32t! Division, Buna, 20 De·
cember 1942.
1ST LT. HAROLD R. FISK, In£., Idaho, 41st Division, Sanananda Point,
8 January 1943.
1ST LT. WILLIAM H. FLANAGAN, Inf., Mississippi, 32d Division, Buna
Mission, 28 December 1942.
CAPT. RAFAEL R. GAMSO, MC, New York, 32t! Division, Buna, 29 De-
cember 1942.
CAPT. LEONARD E. GARRETT, In£., Texas, 32d Division, Buna, 28 De-
cember 1942.
LT. COL. loREN L. GMEINER, Inf., Wisconsin, pel Division, Buna, 25
December 1942.
CAPT. LINCOLN B. GRAYSON, CE, California, 32d Division, Buna, 22
December '942.
1ST LT. JULrUS J. GuTOW, Me, Michigan, I Corps, Simemi, 7 Decem-
ber 1942.
CAPT. ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Soputa, 26
January 1943·
CAPT. CLrFFORD P. HANNUM, Inf., Ineliana, 32el Division, Buna, 29
December 1942.
MAJ. PARKER C. HARDIN, MC, llIinois, Hq U. S. Forces Buna, Hariko,
16 November '942.
MAJ. GEN. EDWIN F. HARDING, USA, Ohio, 32d Division, Hariko, 16
November 1942.
MAJ. CHARLES W. HASH, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Soputa, 16
January 1943·
MAJ. W,LLIAM D. HAWKINS, GSC, New York, 32d Division, Buna,
28 December '942.
CAPT. JOHN L. HOFFMAN, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Sanananda, 16
January 1943·
MAJ. STANLEY W. HOLLENBECK, MC, Wisconsin, 32d Division, Em-
OOgo, 16--17 November 1942.
CAPT. PAUL G. HOLLISTER, Inf., Washington, 41St Division, Sanan-
and a, 9 January 1943·
LT. CoL. MERLE H. HOWE, GSC, Michigan, 32<1 Division, Tarakena,
16 January '943.
1ST LT. BERNARD P. HOWES, Inf., Oklahoma, 32d Division, Soputa-
Sanananda, 22 November 1942.
CAPT. ROBERT L. HUGHES, In£., Mississippi, 32d Division, Buna Mis-
sion, 2 January I943.
1ST LT. PAUL KEENE, Jr., Ord., Kentuckv. 32.1 Diyision, Buna Mission,
27 December 1942.
20 LT. ALFRED KmCHENBAUER, Inf .• Michigan, Hq U. S. Forces Buna,
Siwori Village, 4-5 January 1943·
IST LT. ANTHONY W. KUCERA, Inf., JIIinois, 32<1 Division, BUI13, ,8
December '942.
CAPT. BEVIN D. LEE, Inf., Soutb Carolina, 32d Division, Sanananda,
22 November 1942.
CAPT. JOHN L. LEHIGH, Inf., Indiana, 32<1 Division, Government Gar-
dens, 28 December '942.
LT. CoL. HAROLD M. LINDSTROM, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Soputa,
16 January '943-
CAPT. HOWARD A. McK,NNEY, Inf., Montana. 41St Division, Sopllta.
,6 January '943.
20 LT. BEN G. McKNIGHT" Inf., Nonh Carolina, 32d Division, Buna,
16 December '942.
CAPT. JOHN M. MANGANO, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna, 6
December 1942.
BRIG. GEN. CLARENCE A. MARTIN, GSC, South Carolina, 32d Division,
Buna, 2 December 1942.
1ST LT. PAUL H. MAURER, DC, Ohio, 32d DIvision, Hariko, ,6 Novem-
ber '942.
CAPT. ALFRED E. MEYER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, ,6 De-
cember 1942.
'ST LT. LEONARD J. MILCAREK, MC, Illinois, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
16 November '942.
'ST. LT. LESTER T. MOONEY, Inf., Oklahoma, 32d Division, Buna, 26
November '942.
2D LT. BILL MULLEN, Inf., Nebraska, 32d Division, Buna, 25 Decem-
bet 1942.
CAPT. JAMES F. NEELY, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Soputa, 14
January '943.
CAPT. WENDALL NOALL, MC, Utab, 4,st Division, Soputa, 8 January
CAPT. LoREN E. O'DELL, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Sana nand a, 21
January '943.
2D LT. JOHN E. OLESON,· Inf., Oregon, 41st Division, Sanananda Point,
20 January '943·
'ST LT. JOHN F. O'SULLIVAN, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Soputa,
4 December 1942.
1ST LT. CHARLES E. PETERSON, JR., Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Soputa,
22 January 1943.
CAPT. GEORGE W. PUGSLEY, MC, Nebraska, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
16 November '942.
LT. CoL. WALTER R. RANKIN, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Saputa,
,6 January '943.
CAPT. EOWARD L. REAMS, W., Montana, 4,st Division, Soputa, 21
January '943.
CAPT. HARRY L. RICHARDSON, Inf., Virginia, 32d Division, Saputa, 5
December '942.
CAPT. OLiVER K. ROBINSON, Inf., Oregon, 41st Division, Soputa, ,6
January 1943.
CAPT. ALBERT F. ROGERS, MC, Wisconsin, Hq U. S. Forces Buna,
Hariko, ,6-23 November '942.
CoL. GoRDON B. ROGERS, GSC, California, I Corps, Buna, 2 December
CAPT. RICHARDSON D. Roys, W., Washington, 4,st Division, Soputa,
23 January '943·
CAPT. DONALD F. RUNNOE, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Tarakena, 8
January 1943·
CAPT. EDWARD H. SANDELL," CWS, Illinois, 32d Division, Buna Mis-
sion, 30 November '942.
20 LT. PAUL L. SCHWARTZ, Inf., New York, 32d Division, Buna, 2
December 1942.
MAT. HERBERT B. SHIELDS, Jr., MC, Oklahoma, 32d Division, Simemi,
7 December 1942.
20 LT. RICHARD S. SLADE, Inf., Idaho, 41st Division, Sanananda, 19
January 1943.
CAPT. HARRY C. SMITH, MC, Washington, 41st Division, Sanananda,
9 January 1943·
LT. CoL. HERBERT A. SMITH, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 16
December 1942.
20 LT. RAE M. SMITH, Inf., Minnesota, 32d Division, Mundarupi
Village, 8 December 1942.
CAPT. HAROLD A. SPAETZ, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Pongani, 18
October 1942.
CAPT. JOHN SPONENBURGH, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Sanananda,
16 January 1943·
CAPT. JOSEPH M. STEHLING, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna Mis-
sion, 16 December 1942.
CAPT. LLOYD W. TAYLOR, MC, California, I Corps, Simemi, 7
December 1942.
CoL. CLARENCE M. TOMLINSON, Inf., Florida, 32d Division, Buna and
Giruwa, 6 December '942.
CAPT. JACK H. VAN DuYN, Inf., Oregon, 41st Division, Soputa, 16
January 1943.
1ST LT. JOHNEY B. WAX, Inf., Louisiana, 32d Division, Soputa, 23
November 1942.
1ST LT. PAUL WHITAKER," Inf., Mississippi, 32d Division, Buna, 20
December 1942.
MAT. JOHN B. WHITE, MC, Oregon, 4'St Division, Soputa, 16 January
1ST LT. ROBERT B. WINKLER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Cape
Sud est, 16 November 1942.
1ST LT. PHILIP S. WINSON, SC, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 23
December 1942.
PFC. CHARLES E. AGNER, MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna Mission,
'9 December 194
CPL. RONALD L. ALBERT, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Dobodura,
30 November 1942.
PVT. HuGO A. AMBRECHT, Inf. , Iowa, 32d Division, BUlla, T January
PFC. LIONEL R. ANDERSON, MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 5
December 1942.
SGT. HuGO J. ARNO, Inf. , Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 24 December
TEC. 5 KENNETH E. ARTHUR, Inf., Montana, 4'st Division, Sanananda
Point, 22 January 1943.
PFC. JULIUS ASCHENBRENNER, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 2'
November '942.
CPL. CHARLES D. ASHCRAFT,· Inf., Ohio, 41st Division, Soputa, 9
January '943.
TEC. 4 DONALD ATCHINSON, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 22-26
November 1942.
PFC. WILFRED D. BAKER, MD, Washington, 41St Division, Sanananda
Point, 16 January 1943.
PVT. MARK E. BARNARD, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Kana, 9 January
PFC. WILLIAM J. BARNEH, MD, California, 4TSt Division, Soputa, 5
January [943.
PVT. WILBER C. BAUMAN, Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, Saputa, 22 Novem-
ber 1942.
TEC. 5 JAMES H. BAY, MD, 'Nashington, 4,st Division, Sanananda
Point, 19 January 1943·
CPL. JEAN F. BEHRENDT,· Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Tarakena,
II January 1943.
SGT. ARTHUR BELGARDE, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Soputa, 4 January
CPL. Ons BELIN, Inf., Texas, 4,st Division, Soputa, 14 January '943.
TEC. 5 GLENN P. BINGHAM, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 10
December '942.
TEC. 4 RALPH M. BLAKE, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 24
December '942.
S/Sur. NORMAN j. BLAND,. Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Hq. 32d
Division, I December '942.
S/ SGT. RAYBORN C. BLANK, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 18
December and 3' December '942.
PFC. FRANCIS A. BOCIAN, Inf., Illinois, 32d Division, Buna and Tara-
kena, 19 December '942-TI january 1943.
1ST Sur. JAMES W. BOLAND," Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Soputa,21
January 1943.
SGT. ERWIN A. BONESS," Inf., Wisconsin, pd Division, Buna, 22 De-
cember '942.
PFC. JAMES j. BOORMAN, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 5 De-
cember '942.
CPL. DALE F. BOOTH, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 5 December
Sur. DUDLEY M. BRICE, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Cape Endaiadere,
26 November '942.
PVT. WILLIAM R. BRICCS, Inf., Washington, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
,6 November '942.
PFC. MIKE BRKLACICH, Inf., California, 41St Division, Soputa, '9 Jan-
Sur. JAMES K. BROWER, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 30 Novem-
ber '942.
S/ Sur. ELMER R. BUCHANAN, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 16
December 1942.
PFC. ROBERT S. BUCKOWINC," Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, GHQ,
SWP A, 8 December '942.
TEC. 5 ALBERT C. BURCHARDT, MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 5
December '942.
CPL. JAMES V. BURROWS," Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa, 30
November 1942.
PFC. VICTOR A. BURT," Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 31 De-
cember 1942.
PFC. WALTER j. CAMPBELL, MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Sanananda,
6 December 1942.
Sur. JOHN CARSKAOON, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 30 Novem-
ber 1942.
PFC. LLOYD G. CARTER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 26 No-
vember 1942.
CPL. WRIGHT C. CHAMBLESS, In£., Arkansas, 32d Division, Buna, 20
December 1942.
PFC. CLYDE J. CHAPMAN, In£., Tennessee, 32d Division, Buna, 3 De-
cember 1942.
S/ Sar. WILLIAM F. CHERRY, MD, Ohio, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
16 November 1942.
PFC. CARL O. CHRISTENSON, MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 19
December 1942.
PFC. KENNETH B. CLAPP,. [nf., Mississippi, . 32d Division, Buna, 8 De-
cember 1942.
Sar. BEIU'IARD F. CLARK,. In£. , Michigan, 32d Division, Sanananda-
Soputa, S December '942.
S/ Sar. MILTON O. CLINE, In£. , Wi sconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 26
November-s December 1942.
PFC. JOHN R. CoAN, Inf., JIIinoi s, 32d Division, Buna, 3' December
PFC. RAYMOND W. COLLINS, Inf., Iowa, 32d Division, Buna, , January
Sar. ELMER D. CooN, Int, Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 2S Decem-
ber 1942.
PFC. WALTER C. CoREY, Int, Iowa, 32d Division, Buna, I January 1943.
S/ Sar. ROBERT F. DANENBERG,. Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Hq 32d
Div., 26 December 1942.
PFC. CLEVIS T. DARNELL, In£., Texas, 32d Division, Buna, 3 December
PVT. EZRA DAVIS, MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa, 2 December
Sar. STANLEY C. DAVISON, Inf., Monrana, 41St Division, Soputa, IS
January '943.
PFC. RAYMOND E. DERRICK, MD, Oregon, 4,st Division, Soputa, 16
January ' 943.
Sar. SIDNEY DEVRIES" Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa, 23 No-
vember 1942.
PVT. VERNON E. DIEGEL, MD, Wisconsin, 32d Division, Pongani, 18
October '942.
PVT. THOMAS E. Doss, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 20 Decem-
ber 1942.
SeT. LEO B. DoUBEK, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Soputa, 14 January
PFC. WILSON E. Du BOIS, Inf., Michigan, 41St Division, Kano, 9 Jan-
uary 1943.
PFC. LAWRENCE V. EKDAHL, Ord., Texas, 32d Division, Buna Mi.sion,
16 December '942.
PFC. JAMES J. ELLIOT, Inf., Missouri, 32d Division, Buna, 5 December
PFC. CHARLES O. ELY, Inf., West Virginia, 32d Division, Buna Mis-
sion, 8 December 1942.
Pvr. HYMIE Y. EpSTEIN,· MD, Nebraska, 32d Division, Sop uta, 22
November 1942.
Pvr. ERNEST D. ERICKSON, MD, Iowa, 32d Division, Sanananda, 18
November 1942.
CPL. BERNARDO C. ESCOBAR, Inf., California, 4,st Division, Cape Killer-
ton, 9 January 1943·
TEC. 4 WILFRED D. EVANS, In£., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Hariko, 23
December 1942.
PFC. LESTER L. FALL, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 1 January
PFC. ROBERT D. FANDREY, Inf., Iowa, 32d Division, Buna, 17 December
TEC. 3 WrLLIAM C. FEATHERSTONE, Inf. , Michigan, 32d Division, Buna,
16 November 1942-3 January '943.
S/SeT. ROBERT E. FIECHTER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Simemi, 18
November '942.
CPL. GLENN W. FOLLETT, In£., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 24
December 1942.
PFC. EDGAR J. FOWLER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 31 De-
cember 1942.
Pvr. NATHAN FREEMAN, MD, New Jersey, 32d Division, Buna, 29
November 1942.
SeT. FRANK G. FREIBERG, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna Mission,
2 January 1943·
PFC. JOSEPH R. FREIBURGER, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa, 25
November 1942.
TEC. 5 PAUL FROHMAN, Ord., Pennsylvania, 32d Division, Buna Mis-
sion, 27 December '942,
PVT. CHARLES C. FRY, In£., Illinois, 32d Division, Buna, II December
S/ Scr. STEVE E. FULLER,· Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Sanananda
Point,6 December 1942.
Scr. OWEN D. GASKELL,. In£., Washington, 41St Division, Sanananda,
5 January 1943·
PFC. DELL E. GATES, Inf., Nebraska, 32d Division, Cape Endaiadere,
18 December 1942.
PFC. WILLIAM L. GAUTHIER, MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 21
November 1942.
PFC. PETER GEELHOED,. Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna Mission, 2
January 1943.
CPL. LELAND L. GENTHE, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 26
November 1942.
S/Scr. VICTOR S. GLENN,. In£. , Wisconsin, 32d Division, Hq 32d Div.,
18 December 1942.
PFC. HOWARD A. GOLDING, Inf., Ohio, 32d Division, Buna, 27 Decem-
ber 1942.
PVT. JOHN R. GOODWIN" lnf., Arkansas, 32d Division, Cape Sud est,
16 November 1942.
CPL. PAUL P. GREEN, lnf., Wisconsin, 32cl Division, Buna, 26 Novem.
ber 1942.
PFC. JAMES J. GREENE, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 28 Decem-
ber 1942.
PFC. CASIMIER GRYCH, MD, Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 29 De-
cember 1942.
Scr. IRVING W. HALL, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 21 Novem-
ber 1942.
CPL. CHARLES H. HALLOCK, JR.," Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa,
2 December 1942.
CPL. OSCAR L. HANSON, Inf., Wisconsin, 32cl Division, Cape Sudest, 16
November 1942.
S/ Scr. ALFRED c. HARDRATH, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Tarakena,
10 January 1943·
CPL. RALPH C. HARRISON, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 21
November 1942.
TEC. 4 LEONARD M. HART, MD, Illinois, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
16 November 1942.
PVT. ANDREW j . HECK, MD, Mi chigan, 32d Division, Dobodura, 28
December '942.
SCT. GEORGE A. fuCK, In£., Indiana, 32d Division, Tarakena, 8 january
WOjG DANIEL J. HERR, USA., New York, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
,6 November '942.
CrL. MALCOLM H. HILLARD, Inf. , Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 20
December 1942.
SCT. LLEWELLYN HOFFMAN, MD, Illinois, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
,6 November '942.
PFC. MERL W. HOLM,. Inf., Iowa, 32d Division, Sanananda, 26 No-
vember '942.
S/ SCT. CARLTON H. HUEBNER, Inf., Wisconsin, Vd Division, Buna, 24
December '942.
PFC. HAROLD j. HUEBNER," MD, Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 20
December '942.
S/ SCT. DoNALD F. HULIN, Inf., Washington, 41St Division, Soputa,
20 january 1943.
S/ SCT. MAURI CE E. HUNDAHL, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Sanan-
anda, '9 january 1943·
S/ SCT. RUSSELL C. HUNTINCTON, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, z8
December 1942.
PVT. RAY JACKSON, MD, Washington, Vd Division, Buna, 29 Decem-
ber '942.
CPL. WILLIAM j. JACOBS, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 8 Decem-
ber '942.
S/ SCT. HANS M. JENSEN, In£., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, '5 De-
cember '942.
PVT. LEROY JOHNSON, Inf., Louisiana, 32d Division, Sanananda, 22
December '942.
TEC. 5 JOHN JUBERA, jR., MD, Ohio, 32d Division, Buna, 21 Novem-
ber '942.
PVT. DoNALD KELM, In£., Illinois, 32d Division, Buna, 28 December
PFC. JAMES W. KICE, Inf., Missouri, Hq U. S. Forces Buna, Buna, 21
November '942.
SCT. JAMES KINCAID, Inf., California, 32d Division, Hq U. S. Forces
Buna, 21 November [942.
TEC. 5 FRANCIS D. KLEIN, InE., Wisconsin, Hq U. S. Forces Buna,
Buna, 26 November 1942.
TEC. 5 MAx G. KNOWLES, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 28
December 1942.
PVT. WILLIAM M. KURGAN, Inf., Illinois, 32d Division, Buna, 15 De-
cember 1942.
SGT. WALTER LA FAUNCE,· Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Sanananda,
26 November '942.
PVT. CLARE T. LATHAM,. MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Hq 32d Div.,
15 December 1942.
TEC. 4 IRVING M. LAWRENCE, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna,
23 December 1942.
CPL. REX R. LELAND,. Inf., Michigan, 32d Div."on, Buna, 29 Novem-
ber-s December 1942.
PVT. MAURICE L. LEVY, Inf., Illinois, 4,st Division, Sanananda, 19
January 1943·
PVT. CHARLES E. LOGSDON, Inf., Kentucky, 32d Division, Buna, 28
December 1942.
PFC. JAMES E. loNG, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 26 Novem-
ber 1942.
TEC. 4 JAMES E. LoWTHERS, Inf., Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna,
5 December '94
SGT. EINAR A. LUND, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Soputa, 20 January
SGT. MURDOCK E. MACPHERSON, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division,
Buna, 23 December '942.
PFC. GERALD M. MCCARTHY, MD, Illinois, 32d Division, Buna, 29
Decem ber 1942.
TEC.4 HOMER D. MCGETTIGAN, InE., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Simemi,
18 November 1942.
Sj SGT. FRANK F. MCGUINNESS, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Sanan-
anda, 8 January 1943.
SGT. LAWRENCE W. McNIGHT, Inf., Nevada, 41St Division, Sanananda,
8 January 1943.
PVT. JOHN I. MANNING, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Hq U. S. Forces
Buna, 21 November 1942.
T jSGT. EDGAR C. MARSH, lnf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 3 De-
cember '942.
PFC. HAl<OLD L. MARSHALL, MD, Kentucky, 4,st Division, Sop uta, 9
January '943.
PFC. GERALD MASSEY, Inf., Indiana, 32d Division, Sanananda, 22 De-
cember '942.
SeT. GEORGE L. MAY," In£., Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa, 30 No-
vember '942:
SeT. CHARLES I. MAYNOR, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna Mission,
24 December '942.
PVT. EMIL G. MEDVIN, In£., Ohio, 32d Division, Hq. U. S. Forces Buna,
2' November '942.
SeT. AARON MEYERS, Inf., Missouri, 32d Division, Blllla, 'S December
PVT. GEORGE K. MILLER, Inf., Missouri, 32d Division, Hq. U. S. Forces
Buna, 23 December '942.
SGT. DONALD j. MILTON, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Government
Gardens, 24 December '942.
PFC. EDWARD A. MODRZEJEWSKI, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna,
30 November 1942.
PFC. JACK C. MOORE, MD, Wyoming, 32d Division, Giruwa, 19 jan-
uary '943.
SeT. RALPH S. MORRIS, Inf., Washington, 41st Division, Sanananda,
22 january '943.
CPL. DONALD R. MUENCH, In£., Wisconsin, 32d Division, BUlla, 26
November '942.
SGT. RALPH W. NAY, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Sanananda Point,
7 january 1943·
SGT. EMIL L. NELSON, lnf., Montana, 4rst Division, Sanananda Point,
8 january '943.
PVT. O'DONNELL O' BRIEN, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 30
November '942.
PVT. LoUIS OCHOA, I nf., Arizona, 32d Division, Buna, 24 December
S/SGT. KENNETH V. OLBERG, In£., Montana, 4,st Division, Soputa, '9
January '943.
SGT. WILLARD L. OLES, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Sop uta, 26 No-
vember-13 December 1942.
PFC. WILLIAM H. OLIVER, Inf., Arizona, 32d Division, Buna, 30
November 1942.
SGT. V IGTOR L. OLSON, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 5 Decem-
ber 1942.
SGT. RALPH W. OSWALD, Inf., Montana, 4,st Division, Sanananda
Point, 19 January 1943.
PVT. ROBERT J. PACKARD," Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, '5
December '942.
SGT. CARL J. PATRINOS, Inf. , Wisconsin, 32d Division, Giruwa, '7
January 1943.
PFC. PAUL T. PHILLIPS, Ord., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna Mission, ,6
December 1942.
CPL. RICHARD J. PIEH, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, ,6 Decem-
ber '942.
S/SeT. LouIs H. POL LISTER, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna, 28
December 1942.
PVT. JOHN J. POTTS," Inf., Illinois, 4,st Division, Sanananda, '4 January
S/ SGT. HAROLD E. POYNTER, Inf., Montana, 41st Division. Sanananda,
9 January '943·
1ST SGT. GEORGE PRAVDA, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna Mission,
30 November '942.
PFC. REX N. PURR, MD, Michigan 32d Division, Buna, 25 December
SeT. HOWARD C. PURTYMAN, Inf., Arizona, 32d Division, Hq U. S.
Forces Buna, ,6 December '942.
PVT. VERNON H. PYLES, MD, Kentucky, 32d Division, Buna, 29 De-
cember '942.
PFC. JOE H. RAINWATER," Inf., Texas, 32d Division, Buna Mission,
4 January 1943·
S SeT. EMIL RANINE , Ord., Michigan, 32<\ Division, Government
Gardens, 30 December 1942.
CPL. GEORGE D. RAWSON,' Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna Mis-
sion, 3' December '942.
S/ SGT. DONALD N. REA,' Inf., Michigan, Vd Division, Hq 32d
Div., 26 November 1942.
S/SeT. JOSEPH REDDOOR, Inf., Montana, 41st Division, Soputa, 4
January '943.
CPL. FRANK H. REESE, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Simemi, 18
November '942.
SGT. VIGTOR j. REIGEL, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, '9
November '942.
PVT. EDWARD L. REISING, MD, Ohio, 32d Division, Pongani, '7
November '942.
PVT. BEN"IE B. RICHELL, In£., Illinois, 32d Division, Buna, 30 No-
vember 1942.
PFC. CLYDE RIDCE, Inf., Oklahoma, 32d Division, Buna, 3' December
PVT. ROBERT RIEF, lnf., Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa-Sanananda,
6 December 1942.
PVT. DOUGLAS C. ROGERS, In£., Michigan, 32d Division, Hq U. S. Forces
Buna, 20 December '942.
PFC. SHELBY M. ROOF, In£., Nebraska, 32d Division, Pongani, ,8
October 1942.
CPL. LA Wl\ENCE A. ROWE, Inf., Indiana, 32d Qivision, Buna, 23
November 1942.
PVT. ALBERT L. RUSSELL, jr.,. CE, Pennsylvania, 32d Division, Hq
32d Div., 6 December '942.
epL. ALONZO RUSSELL, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 28
December '942.
PVT. SAM j. SCARFO, MD, Ohio, 32d Division, Buna, 29 December
PFC. AARON A. SCHABO,* Inf., \Visconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 4
January 1943.
PVT. ROBBIE H. ScHEEF, Inf., Nebraska, 32d Division, Soputa, 2 De-
cember 1942.
SGT. ERNEST R. SEARFOSS, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Government
Gardens, I January '943.
SGT. LELAND L. SHARP,· In£., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna Mission,
27 December 1942.
PVT. ROBERT M. SHEARER, Inf., Mississippi, 32d Division, Soputa, 2
December '942.
S/ Scr. RUSSELL E. SIGWELL, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 18
November '942.
SGT. ROBERT H. SIMMONS, In£., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Government
Gardens, 25 December 1942.
Scr. ALBIN C. SIPE, Jr., In£., Washington, 41St Division, Sanananda
Point, 22 January '943.
PFC. KARL SK YEE, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa, 2 December
SGT. HERBERT E. SMITH,· Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 21
November '942.
TEC. 5 ROBERT L. SMITH, Inf., California, yd Division, Cape Sudest,
16 November '942.
PVT. JESSE S. SOMMER,· In£., Illinois, 32d Division, Sanananda, 5 De-
cember 1942.
PFC. ROBERT F. STRONG, Inf., Michigan, 32 Division, Buna Mission, 30
November 1942.
PFC. FLOYD A. SUJKOWSKI, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Hq U. S.
Forces, Buna, 20 December 1942.
CPL. MATTHEW SUSJLE, In£., Illinois, 32d Division, Buna, 26 November
CPL. ROBERT j. TAPPEN, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 19 Novem-
ber '942.
CPL. MERLE G. TASKER,. Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Government
Gardens, J january 1943.
SGT. WILLIAM B. TAYLOR" Inf., Oregon, 41St Division, Soputa, 23
january 1943.
CPL. WILBUR G. TIRRELL, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna, 8
December 1942.
SGT. CARL R. TRAUB, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, , January
S/ SGT. HARRY C. TRODlCK, In£., Montana, 41st Division, Sanananda,
20 january 1943.
SGT. WILLIAM C. TULLIS, In£., Michigan, 32d Division, Sanananda, 9
january '943.
TEc. 5 WALLACE I. V ANCOR, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division,. Buna,
23 December 1942.
S/ SGT. HARRY J. VAN DE RIET, Inf., Montana, 41St Division, Soputa,
'9 January '943·
PFC. WILLIAM E. VIDER" MD, Minnesota, 32d Division, Buna, 5 De-
cember 1942.
CWO HuGO H. VOELKLI, USA, Wisconsin, 32d Division, Cape Sudest,
,6 November '942.
S/ SGT. CHARLES E. WAGNER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 28
December '942.
PFC. EDWARD W. WALTERS,· Inf., Colorado, 32d Division, Buna, 1
January '943.
PVT. ERNEST j . WEBER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 5 Decem-
ber '942.
PFC. HAROLD j. WELLS, MD, Saskatchewan, Canada, 32d Division, Cape
Sud est, ,6 November '942.
SCI'. JAMES P. WELSH,· Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 2' Novem-
ber '942.
'ST SGT. ALFRED R. WENTZLOFF, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Sanan-
and a, , December '942.
PFC. THEODORE I. W'ERCINSKI, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Hariko,
,8 November '942.
PVT. JACK M. WILLIAMS," lnf., Alabama,32d Division, Buna Mission,
, january '943.
PVT. DALE F. WIMER, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 20 Novem-
ber '942.
S/ Scr. IVAN j. YEARMAN, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Buna, 21
November '942.
S/Scr. RUSSELL E. YOUNG, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Soputa, 2
December '942.
Scr. PAUL ZIEGELE, Inf., Montana, 4'st Division, Sanananda, '5 Jan-
uary '943.
Oak Leaf Cluster
CAPT. WILLIAM C. BENSON, Inf., Montana, 4,st Division, Soputa, 9
january '943, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
CAPT. EDMUND C. BLOCH, Inf., Wisconsin, 32d Division, Tarakena,
5-8 january '943, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
CAPT. HERMAN J. F. BOTTCHER, Inf., California, 32d Division, Buna,
20 December '942, Oak Leaf Cl uster to Distinguished Service
COL. JOSEPH S. BRADLEY, GSC, South Carolina, 32d Division, Hq. U. S.
Forces Buna, II January '943, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
COL. JOHN J. CAREW, CE, Massachusetts, 32d Division, Buna, 23 De-
cember '942, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
CoL. JOHN E. GROSE, Inf., West Virginia, I Corps, Buna, 5 December
'942, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
20 LT. BILL MULLEN, Inf., Nebraska, 32d Division, Hq. 32 Div., 25
December 1942, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
1ST LT. HERBERT G. PEABODY, Inf., Vermont, 32d Division, Buna, 5
December '942, Oak Leaf Cluster to Distinguished Service Cross.
CoL. CLARENCE M. TOMLINSON, Inf., Florida, 32d Division, Soputa, 26
December 1942, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
1ST SeT. GEORGE PRAVDA, Inf., Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, I De-
cember '942, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
PFC. REX N. PURK, MD, Michigan, 32d Division, Buna, 20 December
1942, Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.
tr u.s. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1990 255- 627
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